Anyway, I put that matter right today but only venturing as far as the north-east corner of the farm, the nearest accessible part. It really was a lovely day with my car thermometer reading 24 degrees C. although it was standing in the sun. A smell of balsam permeated the air, coming from poplar trees alongside the busy A45 and a pair of jays flew, screaming raucously, between a couple of ash trees nearby. It is amazing how these gaudily coloured crows can be unnoticed until they give their whereabouts away. Their Latin name of Garrulus glandarius is very appropriate. The almost inevitable buzzard circled lazily above.
A number of butterflies were on the wing: Peacock, Orange Tip (only the males have the orange 'dipped in paint' wings), Brimstone and (probably) a Silver-washed Fritillary, Argynnis paphia. I only got a fleeting glimpse of the latter species and, as I am not a lepidopterist, I won't record it.
A fence had collapsed and on a fallen section was a very smart Zebra spider, Salticus scenicus. I approached it in order to obtain a photograph but it dashed under the piece of planking. When I lifted this the spider had disappeared but I had exposed a nest of the Yellow Meadow Ant. With the ants were several specimens of the Ant Woodlouse, Platyarthrus hoffmannseggi. This blind, albino creature seems to be tolerated by the ants and it is suspected that it does a service by clearing up their droppings. It was only 3 mm long and I struggled to obtain a decent picture.
The Ant Woodlouse is common but only revealed when an ants' nest
is disturbed. Foxhill Farm, near Badby. 18 April, 2019