Pyramids; mini-Safari 22/06/2014

by on Jun.25, 2014, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

You’ll probably be familiar with the concept of ‘pyramid of numbers’, but there’s a loop in that pyramid and I spend a lot of my time  on the wrong end of it…

I collected Boyd and Louise from Newton and we headed south along the Northumberland coast to search around our favourite Otter sites.  Ducks were staring intently at one reedbed (where we suspect an Otter has been resting regularly over the last few weeks) as clouds of midges (extremely numerous) were predated by Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins (not so numerous).  A thick carpet of insects (extremely numerous) trapped in the surface of a river were greedily gobbled up by shoals of small fish (not so numerous).  With the setting sun illuminating it from behind like an avenging angel, a Barn Owl (scarce) plunged repeatedly into the rank vegetation before emerging with a small mammal (not at all scarce).  Example after example that typify the pyramid of numbers…

…but, of course, there’s that loop I mentioned before.  Midges (numerous almost beyond measure) munching away merrily on me (really not numerous) 🙁  I don’t know what attraction I hold for these tiny menaces, but there clearly is one.  I’ve been bitten in March, well before any self-respecting midge should be on the wing, and my latest bite in any year was on November 4th.  I sat on a heather covered hillside one day, watching a Hen Harrier nest, attracting a veritable plague of Horseflies in the process, and on a camping trip in 2006, Sarah erected our tent while I, and these are Sarah’s words rather than mine “rolled around on the grass, crying like a little girl”.  A few years ago, during the Q&A session at the end of a talk I’d given, we were asked the question “How do you avoid being bitten by insects”.  Without a moment’s hesitation, Sarah provided the answer “I stand next to Martin” 🙂

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