Actually I did get out a bit in the sunshine on Friday morning, it was still cold in the wind but if shelter could be found it was actually quiet warm. I was taking the day off and decided to try seeking shelter below the cliff at Calshot (ok not on the East Solent, but only just in the western half) and see what was about. There were a good few insects, almost all flies, I had wondered if there might have been a bumble-bee or two out, but I saw none. The best spot I found was an area in complete shelter with a patch of flowering Winter heliotrope.
The combination of nectar and warmth attracted at least two species of hoverflies, most were drone-flies, all that I could identify were Eristalis tenax.
Drone-flies over-winter as adults, hibernating like some butterflies. I also saw a few marmalade hoverflies Episyrphus balteatus, a species that usually gets here as a migrant, but has been over-wintering increasingly in recent years.
Other flies were mainly of the blue-bottle type.
There were also a few others that I could not identify.
Being out in the sunshine was one thing, but once the clouds started to roll in I had to retreat inside into the warm, for the good of my health you understand.
I told the other counters that I was likely to be ducking out of the water bird count at Farlington on Saturday, this was greeted rather too warmly, I felt! The explanation was that since I started taking part it has rained on every count and they reckon that if I don’t turn up they have the chance of doing a count in decent weather for a change. Looking out of the window today I am not so sure they were right!