Today was an insect day for Bertie. I have seen more bumble bees, honey bees, butterflies, hover-flies and grass-hoppers in the past few weeks around the Thanet country-side than in in the past few years. Perhaps a colder winter and a drier and milder spring has helped?
Today however, produced that combination of humidity (after last nights rain) and rising thermals when our common black ant nests all over Thanet let their winged 'queens' and males take to the air. At about 3pm, you might have noticed a swirling cloud of over 300 of our 'rats on wings' (herring gulls) above Margate and Cliftonville darting and turning in the air as they tried to join in with the swifts in an aeriel feast that made an interesting change to black dustbin bag tearing.
A small flock of feral pigeons gathered on Wilderness Hill on the pavement to grab a quick meal as a large ants nest began releasing its larger 'queens' and smaller males. Why fly around when your 'take-away' pops out between the cracks in the pavement?
By about 5pm, the 'queens' with or without little males still attached in coitus, began to descend as thermals died out, all over my back garden, providing further snacks for our young sparrows and driving me in doors! The swifts were noticeably absent until dusk and I suspect that the young screeching broods were resting for an hour or two with distended guts and indigestion!
Having had a great 'Painted Lady' summer , and a good flying ants day today, I suspect that our next noticeable insect 'infestation' will be lady-birds. I saw hundreds on just one aphid rich weed on a headland near Birchington this morning.
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