Along the Royal Military Canal there was a spectacular eastbound migration up until mid-morning. Most birds were flying quite low into the breeze, so you stood amid a flood of Swallows and House Martins, with hundreds of Siskins passing in flocks of up to 50, their colours standing out brightly (for a change) in the sunshine. Hundreds of Meadow Pipits too, but not so much in the colour department to get excited about.
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Archive for September 26th, 2008
Spent a fascinating hour or two yesterday watching Ivy Bees (Colletes hederae) with entomologist Simon Saxton who is researching the bee at Castle Rocks, Hastings. The video below shows some mating behaviour which is quite unusual but a feature of this species mating strategy and other Colletes species that form large aggregations.
When a new female emerges or is dug out by a male she produces a scent that attracts the males that tirelessly patrol the burrows. This scent also seems to rub off onto the successful male and any other attendant males which attracts more males, which pick up the scent themsleves attracting more males etc. producing these mating balls which can become quite large. You can see the successful male at the bottom of the mating ball with his legs tucked tightly into its body and antennae held tightly backwards over the head.
We still have tadpoles in our garden pond, and if they don’t hurry up they are not going to metamorphose before the winter kicks in. They are common frogs, the only anuran (frog or toad) that breeds in our garden. Elsewhere in our area other tadpoles that hang around in the water late into the summer include the larger marsh frog, because this species breeds much later in the spring.
The delayed development of common frog tadpoles can occasionally be due to metabollic disorders, such as a defective thyroid gland for instance, but usually the delayed growth is down to over-crowding, and an interesting mechanism that kicks in with a micro-organism called Anurotheca richardsii.
These curious cells lie somewhere Read the rest of this entry »
Lots of birds on the move over the Beach Reserve and Harbour Farm during the first hour of daylight, 700 Swallow, 110 House Martin, 150 Meadow Pipit, 15 Redpoll, 80 Linnet, 17 Pied Wagtail, 42 Golden Plover,135 Canada Geese (Pictured) and of course Siskins which continue to pass overhead in small groups. Along Shore Ridges 54 Ringed Plover, 143 Oystercatcher and 19 Dunlin were roosting.