Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ants in your pants!

I took the dogs out for a walk in the sunshine. I can' describe how much of a  welcome change this made from the recent never ending spell of bad weather. Orange Tip and Meadow Brown butterflies were out in force. Red Coach Men beetles and myriads of Hoverflies were abundant. Midges were everywhere under the shade of the trees. The insect life was out with a vengeance at long last. 

However, the greatest spectacles of all, is upon us – flying ant day. Vast numbers of flying ants were out in the late afternoon to perform their yearly nuptial flight. Millions of colonies seem able to synchronise their emergence, to find a mate from a different colony. It was a food bonanza for the birds. Sparrows, Tits and even pigeons were spotted eating the ants as they emerged.

The Society of Biology is asking everyone who sees flying ants in 2012 to make a note of the time, date, location and weather conditions, and submit records through an online survey. Click Here to record your sightings.

Dr Adam Hart, an ecologist and insect expert at the University of Gloucestershire, is working with the Society of Biology on the survey. He says: "After such a wet summer it's wonderful to see all these flying ant reports coming in, interestingly at a very similar time to last year."

I have just returned from doing a bat survey, on a short section of the Dudley Canal (number 2). Daubentons and Pipistrelle were encountered in good numbers. Some unidentified Myosis species were also noted. This is the first time I have had such good numbers of bats out and about this year.


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