Saturday 25th March 2017:
Today's weather conditions were really good with sunshine and clear blue skies the order of the day. Being a weekend the Common can tend to be very busy people wise so I decided to spend my time at the quieter Hillditch Pool NR. It proved a worthwhile visit as the glorious weather had bought out the butterflies. During this visit I recorded 4 Commas and 3 Small Tortoiseshells.
A rather worn Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
During the visit I also observed my first Alder Fly of the year. Alder Fly larvae are aquatic, so the adults are often found in close proximity to ponds and slow moving rivers where they can look almost moth-like with their sluggish flight.
Alder Fly (Sialis lutaria)
Sunday 25th March 2017:
The fine weather continued and today's visit was another productive one. I walked a circuit on the south side of the common from Lower Poolands car park up to the former plantation and back around through the heather and gorse. During the walk I observed my first Peacock butterfly of the year and my first Dark-edged Bee-fly. I also noted 6 absolutely stunning Tawny Mining Bees.
Peacock (Aglais io)
Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major)
Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva)
The undoubted highlight of the visit came from the most unexpected of places. As I was walking along I noticed something glistening and partially protruding from a mole hill. Being the curious kind of fella that I am I went and had a closer look. on removing the said item from the mound of soil I was surprised and pleased to find that it was a piece of stone-age worked flint. I have a reasonable amount of experience in collecting flint tools as, a number of years ago, myself and my good friend Craig used to walk the freshly ploughed fields at Lutley (near Halesowen) looking for such items and we both built up collections of various blades, scrapers and chippings. I was aware that a small number of Stone Age flint tools had been found previously on the Common as it is a topic that is covered in Hartlebury Common - A Social and Natural History by JJ Tucker, S Zaluckyi and PJ Alma. I can only think that the process of a mole excavating its tunnels bought this item to the surface after who knows how long. Fascinating stuff!
Flint Microlith found on Hartlebury Common, 26th March 2017