I learned a new word today, thanks to Weatherwatch in the Guardian. And what a useful word it is: Apricity – old English for the warmth of the sun on a winter’s day, something we all recognise and value, rousing us from winter slumber, even if as with the past two weeks it rings all sorts of alarm bells about climate change.
For some things, aprication is simply passive heating, for others it embraces disinfection by exposure to UV light. Whatever the role, the invertebrate life in Wivenhoe’s wildlife garden today was apricating abundantly. Among the hoverflies, ladybirds and Nursery-web Spiders was my first Red Admiral of the year, not unexpectedly perhaps, but also the first Hairy-footed Flower-bees emerging from hibernation, a good two or three weeks in advance of their usual date.
At least there are early nectar or pollen sources for the insects, as the prolonged warmth has coaxed Red Dead-nettles and Annual Mercury into flower, while in the hedges the first Cherry-plums have opened, catching the last dew-drops of a misty morn.