We Skye folk experienced summer yesterday (unlike last year when it was on a Wednesday) and I witnessed my first ever flying ant swarms up here. Everything from Chaffinches to Hooded Crows were doing their very best flycatcher impressions, busily taking advantage of the sudden glut. And today we had some afternoon rain followed tonight by hammering rain of near biblical proportion and thunder. Thunder! This may well constitute the first thunder I've heard for two or three years - seriously!!!
I haven't been out a'nature-bothering at all this week, quite ludicrous really given that invert activity should be almost at a peak. But I've still seen and found stuff...
|Dicranopalpus ramosus - 50 metres south of my house and thus not quite the northernmost record in Britain!|
|Epichloe typhina - a choke fungus of Cock's-foot Grass|
|Gold Spot on top of a very grubby thumbnail. Sorry about that...|
|Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing - such a smart moth!|
Anyway, these mid-July doldrums are about to be shattered into a million billion tiny wee pieces because, as of tomorrow afternoon, I have the marvellous Tony 'Mothman Extraordinaire' Davis staying here for a week! We have plans to run light traps down in the woods, maybe up at the bog too if it ever stops raining/blowing a hoolie. My next blogpost should be jam-packed full of excitement and stunning species. Dutch Rush for starters - hopefully! You'd be crazy to miss it...
My most memorable flying ant swarm happened early evening at Guilfest 2006. It was hot, it was humid, we were shoulder to shoulder in front of Stereo MC's when the first few ants started rising up through the crowd. There were lots more during The Stranglers performance, and then they went mental as Billy Idol came on! I didn't care - I was right up near the front yelling along with my childhood hero, I sang myself almost hoarse during Rebel Yell. My girlfriend wasn't a fan - until he took his t-shirt off, that is!! Anyway, ants - lots of them. I remember folks casually swatting and swiping at them. Then girls squealing as ants clambered through their hair, and then eventually nobody could ignore them any more, ha! The field we were stood upon must have held host to millions of them, because they just didn't stop. Flying ants bloody everywhere. I imagine the noise and vibrations from above probably helped incite them to move regardless of the weather conditions.
Here's Billy, from that very evening, doing a cover you won't find on his albums
Can't find anything from the Stereo MC's show that night but they were MASSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The drummer was insane - he had his drums mounted vertically and absolutely sledge-hammered his way through them - just so amazing to watch! I remember driving my truck through Brixton one time and almost crashing it when I realised it was Rob Birch bouncing his way along the pavement!