Up on the roof!

It’s that time of year again! The annual battle between Man and Gull, as Herring gulls nest on roofs and chimneys around the town! Let me start by saying that I love Herring gulls – it would be a dull world without them – but I totally understand why not everybody wants them nesting on…

Oak galls: currants and spangles

Some of the most most complex and diverse galls found on oak trees are caused by tiny gall wasps (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae, Cynipini), with each species producing a characteristically shaped gall. I came across some nice little, currant-like galls this Spring, which were new to me, although very common it seems (see below). These currant galls,…

The mighty Emperor

In dragonflies, males are generally classed as fliers or perchers. Fliers spend most of their time on the wing – and have longer wings – whereas perchers spend most of the time sitting on a perch, from which they make short flights, defending territories and seeking females. The emperor dragonfly, Anax imperator Leach (Aeshnidae) is…

Dancing demosielles

There are four species of these beautiful Calopteryx damselflies belonging to the family Calopterygidae, in Europe, and two occur in Britain: the Beautiful and the Banded demoiselle (below). There are also a number of subspecies of each type. In this blog I am featuring a Spanish subspecies of Calopteryx virgo, called meridionalis, and Calopteryx splendens from Bedfordshire in…

Turnstone plumage

We are lucky to have a small population of Ruddy Turnstones, Arenaria interpres, in Scarborough. They spend most of the year here, except for the summer when they fly up to the Arctic to breed. Before they leave in May, they have usually moulted into their gorgeous breeding plumage (below). Their plumage gradually changes over…

Juvenile herring gulls following gannets

When I came across this melee of seabirds, just off the East Pier in Scarborough, I was a bit confused at first about what was going on! There were large numbers of juvenile Herring gulls taking off and landing in the water. What were they doing? After a while, I realised that there were a…