Saturday, 24 September 2011

Southern Climes

The Norfolk Hedgefinders have been in France for a couple of weeks. We were in the region of the Charentes, which is far enough south to have a noticeably different climate and wildlife than Norfolk. For one thing, you know it's warm if common lizards are indeed common. The warm sunshine also seems to encourage familiar species such as house spiders to reach considerable size and we saw a greater number of moths and butterflies that seem to have declined in the UK in recent years.
But one of the joys of foreign climes is seeing species that are rare or non-existent at home. And in that category one highlight was the praying mantis that startled us whilst sun-bathing. I've never had a good look at one before and I do wonder how much they inspired Ridley Scott's Alien? Other notable residents also included redstarts, hoopoes, hen harriers, egrets and kites. And kittens. But that's another story...

1 comment:

  1. I also love watching the unfamiliar insects and reptiles when travelling and I remember seeing preying mantis sitting in a circle around the lamp light on a shower block wall on a trip to Cyprus 20 years ago, clearly aware that other insects would be drawn to the light and therefor to their deaths.

    On another note, the makers of 'Alien' - Ridley Scott, Dan O'Bannon and HR Geiger were certainly aware and inspired by stories of the predatory wasps that lay their larvae on paralized caterpillars to provide fresh, still alive, sustenance for their growing offspring - a very dark thought indeed.