Ladybirds have a fine reputattion as greenfly-slayers, but what do they feed on in spring, before the aphid population explosion gets underway and animal food is hard to come by? This one - and scores like it - was feeding on the nectar of Alexanders Smyrnium olasatrum flowers. This is one of the commonest flowering plants along some parts of the Norfolk coast at this time of year, and must be a very welcome food resource for the large numbers of ladybirds that have recently emerged from hibernation.
Meanwhile, for those ladybirds for whom there was no conveniently blooming Alexanders, the pollen from silver birch catkins seemed to be an acceptable substitute. The dangly yellow catkins are male, the upright green catkins are female, and after pollination (which will be courtesy of the wind rather than the ladybirds) the female catkins will become spikes of tiny winged seeds that are favourite food for siskins and redpolls in winter.