Saturday, 11 July 2009

Waterside

Two very different pictures for you today, both taken from the path around the Manor Floods Lake - known to Malcolm as the DBC Bogwash (it's a long story)!
To start with, a singing little beauty sitting in an alder tree by the water's edge. A Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus).
A bit of a long-distance picture I'm afraid, but the little chap wouldn't let us any closer. This little, insectivorous bird is a summer visitor this country and will be starting it's long migration back to Sub-Saharan Africa in August or September. A journey of at least 3,500 miles would be daunting to any of us, but to a creature no more than 5" long and weighing about 1/2 ounce, it is truly a monumental undertaking.
Next, a butterfly. Found sitting on a thistle leaf close to where the Sedge Warbler was singing, was this Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus).
Called Gatekeeper for it's preference for frequenting field gates and hedge gaps in the days when butterflies were far more common than they are today. The forewings display eye spots very clearly. These are a ruse used by many insects to deflect the attacks of birds and other predatory animals. A peck to the wing tips will be much less dangerous than a 'head-on' attack.
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