Saturday 18 November 2023

Valencia: bird ringing sheds light on wetland warbler survival

For many Honeyguiders, one of the highlights of our March Valencia trip is to attend a bird ringing session at Pego Marshes Natural Park. Our local guide, Pau Lucio, and colleagues from Grupo de Anillamiento Pit-Roig (also on Facebook) have been managing a constant effort ringing site since 2004.

Bluethroat at Pego Marshes, with local Honeyguide leader Pau Lucio.

The site provides much information to study the reedbed passerine community, which includes some lovely wintering species: bluethroat, reed bunting, penduline tit and Cetti’s warbler, among others.


Reed bunting.
Cetti's warbler.

However, stealing the spotlight is the moustached warbler, for which Pego Marshes has the second largest Spanish breeding population. Numbers increase in winter with the arrival of many French breeding birds.

Pau and colleagues are about to publish a scientific paper comparing how climate change affects the breeding population of the moustached warbler and the reed warbler across Spain. To do that, they used thousands of bird ringing data from 51 ringing sites across Spain.

They found that the number of moustached warbler offspring is negatively affected by the rise in temperatures and late winter/early spring storms that affect incubation and chick rearing. In contrast, the reed warbler appears resilient to the negative impacts of precipitation, while an increase in temperatures seems to have a positive effect on the reproductive success, leading to a higher number of offspring.

Moustached warbler.
These results align with other papers that show that climate change affects more specialist species – ones that need a more specific habitat – with a fragmented distribution, in this case the moustached warbler, and affects less the generalist bird with a wide distribution, here reed warblers.

During the ringing session on the holiday, Pau will explain the research he is involved with. The photos of birds were all ringed during previous Honeyguide visits.

Honeyguide’s wildlife holiday in Valencia in 2024 runs from 15 to 24 March. More information on

Information provided by Pau Lucio. Photos by Pau, except Pau with bluethroat by Chris Durdin. More ringing photos from a previous trip here on Facebook, including penduline tit, sedge warbler and chiffchaff.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Conservation donations from Honeyguide in 2023

Honeyguide’s conservation donations in 2023 totalled £4515. This blog is mostly to give news on the most recent donations, in autumn 2023, as well as the running total.

Cove at Binidali, Menorca, October 2023 (Chris Gibson).

Our October holiday on Menorca – as for all our Menorca holidays over nearly 30 years – supported The Grup Balear d'Ornitologia i Defensa de la Naturalesa (the Balearic Ornithological Group) – GOB Menorca for short. Our donation was £610, which includes Gift Aid and an additional donation.

A nice element while we are on Menorca is direct contact with GOB Menorca. I saw this at first hand in October 2023, and it was the same for the group with Chris Gibson in October 2023. Carlos Coll, President of GOB Menorca, came to our base Matxani Gran along with Charlotte from GOB’s Farm Stewardship programme.

Carlos wrote to me to say:

“We had a wonderful evening with a really interesting group of Honeyguiders. Charlotte spoke about the team she forms part of and explained our Farm Stewardship programme which is growing every year.

At present this programme has become a bit of a flag-ship and has created interest in many areas in and out of Spain. This time last year we were invited to visit a NGO in Libano who are developing a land stewardship programme and we came home filled with enthusiasm and very impressed with how they are making such a difference both agriculturally and socially. Sharing good practice is so important. 

Thank you so much for Honeyguide’s very generous gift to GOB. Donations enable us to continue with our all important work in creating opportunities and balancing progress with sustainability. We are enormously grateful.

I do hope you will be able to visit Menorca again and allow us to show you how GOB is making a difference.

Also in October, we sent also £100 to Norfolk Wildlife Trust after our North Norfolk break with Rob Lucking.

Wells Harbour, north Norfolk, October 2023.

Usually, donations are sent after holidays have run, just in case something happens – learnt from the experience of air traffic control issues in France. However, for Algarve and Alentejo in Portugal this November, we made an exception. In Portugal we lean on the advice of Domingos Leitão for the choice of project to support: Domingos is both Executive Director of SPEA (BirdLife Portugal) and our guide this year.

In 2023 we will be a sponsor of the 11th Congress of Ornithology of SPEA, 22-26 November, in Ponta Delgada University (Azores). This is a major science and conservation event that SPEA used to organise every third year. The last time, the 10th, was in 2018, and because of the pandemic, the 11th was postponed to this year. More on: In view of the dates, it made sense to commit early to this, and the sponsorship – with others – shows on the website of the congress. With the benefit some unrestricted funds in hand as well as knowing what November’s group will contribute, the trustees of the Honeyguide Charitable Trust agreed to send €1000 (£886) to SPEA.

Honeyguide donation to SPEA for 11th Congress of Ornithology.

Other donations in 2023:

February: £175 to Norfolk Wildlife Trust, linked to Honeyguide local walks.

March: £630 to GREPOM (BirdLife Morocco) linked to our Morocco holiday and £290 to SEO (BirdLife Spain) linked to our Extremadura holiday.

April: £430 to the Hellenic Ornithological Group (BirdLife Greece) linked to our Crete holiday.

May: £290 to BirdLife Salamanca for harrier protection, linked to our South of Salamance holiday.

June: £820 to Zerynthia, an NGO working to conserve butterflies in Spain, linked to our Picos de Europa holiday.

July: £190 to the RSPB on Mull, from our Mull group.

August: £94 to Norfolk Wildlife Trust, from a Honeyguide local walk at Hickling nature reserve.

Part of the ethos of Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays has always been to contribute to the protection of the wildlife that we enjoy, put into effect by donations to conservation projects and organisations linked to our activities. These donations are usually via the Honeyguide Wildlife Charitable Trust, through which we can claim Gift Aid and increase our charitable activity.

Adding this year’s donations of £4515 to the previous total gives a running total of £149,797 donated to nature conservation since Honeyguide started in 1991.

Chris Durdin

Monday 2 October 2023

La Brenne, September 2023

This is an account of a personal visit to La Brenne, in mid-France. The tourist information about the ‘parc naturel régional’ says it is the 'land of a thousand lakes' and ‘1001 surprises’. Most accounts say there are closer to 2,000 lakes, fish ponds created from the Middle Ages and since. These and the quiet country lanes and tracks are very attractive for wildlife, walking and cycling.

La Brenne, land of 1000 lakes.

Our trip was by train, car hired locally, and bike. Here is the outline itinerary:

20 September: train Norwich to London, Eurostar St Pancras to Lille, overnight Lille.

21 September: trains TGV to Paris Gare du Nord, transfer to Paris Austerlitz, Austerlitz to Chateauroux; hire car to a gîte in Mézières-en-Brenne.

22 September: car to la réserve naturelle nationale de Chérine (several hides). Circular walk from Mézières-en-Brenne following route collected from tourist information centre.

23 September: hired bikes for route 5, a 43kilometre circuit. Traditional French music and country dancing at Hegarty’s in Villiers.

24 September: Coffee in Le Blanc, woodland edge walk near St Aigny.

Cressonière: stone structure once used to grow watercress. Water mill behind, at St Aigny.

25 September: drive through Forêt de Lancombe, circular walk around étang Duris, visit to riverside town of Saint-Gaultier.

Good moaning. We were just pissing by ... in Saint-Gaultier.

26 September: electric bikes, following parts of three of the marked circuits in the regional nature park.

27 September: two triangular walks from Le Blizon, north of Rosnay, refreshments (as yesterday) at Maison du Parc.

28 September: returned car to Chateauroux, train to Paris Austerlitz, short walk to Austerlitz metro to go to Gare du Nord, Eurostar to St Pancras, Liverpool Street to Norwich.

On one of the circuits from Le Blizon.

We loved the area. It’s very rural, very quiet, and wonderfully flat – flatter than going out from home in the Norfolk Broads – for exploration by bicycle. Mézières-en-Brenne is the obvious base, a quiet town with enough shops – a small supermarket called Proxi, boulangerie, a butcher with ready-made meals for sale – and black redstart singing on rooftops. There is an excellent tourist information office and the Moulin nearby where bikes can be hired. We also ate out in two very nice and sensibly priced restaurants: Hegarty’s in Villiers and the all-in-one café/shop/restaurant in Saint-Michel-en-Brenne called Le Saint Cyran.

Fried carp, from the local fishponds (étangs), a local speciality, very nice. And good to see LPO (BirdLife France) on the place mat.

Quiet roads and well-marked routes for cycling. 

Would this make a Honeyguide holiday, one without the need for flights? For wildlife appeal, certainly. For practical reasons, it would be challenging. Transferring across Paris by train can be tricky. Where we hired a car in Chateauroux, a comfortable three-quarters of an hour away from Mézières-en-Brenne, they didn’t have minibuses, so it would mean going somewhere further e.g. Tours. Accommodation would need to be found: the hotel in Mézières-en-Brenne was shut for refurbishment. So there’s no easy fix –I like easy – and the 2024 programme is pretty full already. It’s not ruled out for the future.

Bikes again.
With so many wetlands, what wetland birds were there? Every lake seemed to have at least one great white egret and grey heron. Little egrets were plentiful, as were cattle egrets around cattle. We found a nice daytime roost of about 20 night herons, and twice saw spoonbills. It was too late in the year for purple herons, and too early for wintering wildfowl to join local mallards, gadwalls, coots and great crested & little grebes, nor had the now regular autumn and winter cranes arrived.

Cattle with cattle egrets.

Night heron daytime roost.

On birds of prey, buzzards were ten-a-penny, plus marsh harrier, sparrowhawk, hobby and kestrel. There were a few migrants: two pied flycatchers, two wheatears, yellow wagtail, blackcap, scores of chiffchaffs.

We found some interesting autumnal flowers, as the photos show.

Autumn lady's tresses. In the gite's back garden!

Goldilocks aster Galatella linosyris.

Meadow saffron, a roadside patch.

Water primrose Ludwigia grandiflora, known as an invasive alien, from central America, though pretty.

Mammals: roe deer, red deer heard regularly (being rutting season), coypu, red squirrel, wild boar rootings.

Reptiles/amphibians: wall lizard, green lizard, grass snake, European pond terrapin, pool frog.

Wall lizard, pool frog.
Butterflies: grizzled skipper sp, small white, scores of clouded yellows, brimstone, red admiral, great banded grayling, small heath, speckled wood, wall brown, small copper, common blue.

Dragonflies/damselflies: thousands of common darters, migrant hawker, willow emerald, winter damselfly.

Winter damselfly.

Other notable invertebrates: three hummingbird hawkmoths on the ‘hot-lips’ Salvia in the gîte’s garden, aggregations of ivy mining bees, hornets, fire bugs, praying mantis, red swamp crayfish.

Praying mantis, red swamp crayfish, European hornet.

Thanks to Ian Barthorpe from RSPB Minsmere for lending us his Crossbill Guide to the Loire and La Brenne.

Chris Durdin

Sunday 10 September 2023

Snettisham event, 31 August 2023

Today's outing took a slightly different format in that it was an evening outing especially timed to see the high tide wader roost at the RSPB's Snettisham nature reserve on the Norfolk side of The Wash. Because it was a big group Rob was joined by Steve Cale, an experienced guide and accomplished artist. 

Half of the group met mid-afternoon for a walk from the RSPB car park to Snettisham Coastal Park. The first surprise of the day was a juvenile little tern we saw feeding in a freshwater pool alongside the entrance road to the car park. Large flocks of hirundines were feeding over the trees, a mix of swallows and house martins and at least eight buzzards circled on the thermals.

We started out along the inner sea bank at Snettisham Coastal Park and saw a young whitethroat in a hedge with a group of house sparrows. Daphne spotted a speciality of the area - a turtle dove sitting on the overhead wires. In the distance we could see the first flocks of waders swirling in the distance and 13 spoonbills flew over.

Massed waders at Snettisham.

We headed slowly back to the car park to meet up with the rest of the group. The car park had filled considerably since we arrived, and RSPB staff were on hand to manage the situation.

We had special permission to drive onto the reserve, saving a long walk, and we all piled into four cars to drive from the car park through the chalet park and onto the sea bank overlooking the Wash.

The group overlooks The Wash.

The waders were already starting to gather. A big flock of oystercatchers gathered on the mudflats, constantly moving as the tide touched their feet. Flocks of bar-tailed godwits and golden plovers flew inland to roost on farmland. We could hear several common sandpipers calling and both common and Sandwich terns flew overhead. Best though were the great swirling flocks of knots, constantly changing direction and shape. 

On the distant horizon we picked out Boston 'Stump' - the local name given to St Botolph's church in Boston, reputedly the tallest parish church in England and the Outer Trial Bank, an artificial island built as part of a feasibility study in the 1970s to see whether it would be possible to build a barrage across part of The Wash to store fresh water.

The forecast rain started a bit early, so we moved into one of the hides overlooking the old gravel pits that form part of the reserve. We could see the tightly packed roosting flock of knots on the shingle banks with black-tailed godwits in front in the water. There were at least 20 spoonbills on the far bank and five spotted redshanks in among the commoner redshanks.

By now the rain had eased and we headed back to look over The Wash. Among the huge flock of gulls we found a good number of Mediterranean gulls with the adults' white wing tips and heavier bills being best features to distinguish them. As the tide started to drop, we were treated to the 'reverse' spectacle of knot leaving the high tide roost. This time the flypast was fast and low as they flew over our heads from the pits back out onto The Wash.

Botanising by torch light (Tim Hunt).

We wandered back to the cars but before departing had a quick look (by torchlight!) for a Snettisham speciality plant, red hemp-nettle, at its only Norfolk site. It is a species that requires disturbed ground and unfortunately the area that had been very good for it in previous years was no longer suitable.

Rob Lucking

Friday 25 August 2023

Hickling guided walk, 24 August 2023

A curiosity of today’s visit to NWT’s Hickling Broad and Marshes nature reserve was that two of the most interesting sightings were in the long grass in the open picnic area by the visitor centre. The first of these was the day-flying moth latticed heath. Rachel in the visitor centre checked it out and it’s not the first for the reserve, but far from an everyday species. (More information on Norfolk Moths.) For the second good find, scroll down to lunchtime!

Latticed heath moth.
On this warm and sunny day, dragonflies were out on good numbers, with common and ruddy darters particularly common and confiding. A black-tailed skimmer landed on pallets in the first field, and migrant hawkers were numerous. Later a female emperor dragonfly hunted around us, and we saw a couple of brown hawkers. Mosquitos were also numerous, as two of us in shorts found, especially between the visitor centre and the first hide, though Ann’s insect repellent helped. A brown shield bug on a bramble stem was a dock bug.

A chiffchaff called and briefly showed, and an early find was a green cigar gall. We get used to seeing these in winter once the reeds they are on have turned brown; perhaps it’s just a question of getting your eye in. There was a great white egret and a little egret from the first hide (Cadbury Hide), and a distant great spotted woodpecker high on a dead tree. Bramble leaves on this part of the reserve were noticeably affected by a rust fungus.

Cigar gall; abundant rust fungus on bramble.

On Hickling Broad there was a flock of coots, a few great crested grebes, mute swans, herons, distant gulls and a common tern. By where the boat tours leave, a common lizard soaked up some warmth on wooden fence plank.

The next stretch was under oaks, prompting a look for galls, now coming into their peak season. On the oaks were spangle galls, cherry galls and knopper galls on acorns or fallen on the ground, all three types of gall induced by gall wasps. Farther on we found thistle galls on creeping thistle, caused by a mite, and a robin’s pin cushion on a dog rose, caused by a gall wasp.

Oak galls collage. Left, knopper galls. Top right, spangle galls. Bottom right, cherry galls (the cherry colour comes later).
Also on one of these oaks was a footman moth. The ‘melon seed’ shape makes it dingy footman.

Dingy footman. Also the brown lumps above the moth are probably another oak gall, 'collared bud' galls  from yet another gall wasp, Andricus curvator.

The star birds of Hickling – like harriers, bitterns and cranes – were generally conspicuous by their absence from view, though we did hear bearded tits. At Bittern Hide, the best birds were inside: three swallows in a nest.

At Brendan’s Marsh a wader flew up the channel and landed by the flock of Canada geese: a common sandpiper. Then we saw a closer wader in a pool in the mare’s tail, this one a green sandpiper. There were great white and little egrets, though no sign of the spoonbills recently announced to have bred here. Much of the open ground was bright yellow, a covering of buttonweed or Cotula. It was lunchtime, so we took the woodland route back to the visitor centre, finding a willow emerald damselfly on route.

Time for picnic lunches. The waste bins were taped and labelled as out of use, the reason being a steady stream of hornets through a gap in the cupboard that houses the bins. (The nest was therefore out of sight, though here is photo of it on Mike Dawson’s Facebook.)

Wasp spider, a first for Hickling (Helen Crowder).

It was where we’d seen the latticed heath that Helen made the best discovery. Two weeks ago, at Thompson Common, it was Ann who’d found the wasp spider. Today it was Helen’s turn to discover one. The female wasp spider was in a typical position, in long grass likely to have plenty of cricket & grasshopper prey. They can be quite static, though this wasp spider’s web was incomplete, so she was often on the move, adding strands. Eventually Rachel was free from her meet-and-greet duties and came to enjoy the discovery. Later she advised that it was a first record for the reserve … and a good reason to keep the grass here uncut.

More spiders in the Hickling picnic area (Helen Crowder). Probable ID is candy-striped spider Enoplognatha ovata. 

Many of the group extended our stay into the afternoon, albeit dropping from seven to four as we walked past Brendan’s Marsh and onto Stubb Mill. Brendan’s Marsh had more wildfowl species than you might expect in high summer: mallards and gadwalls, of course, also teals, shovelers and two wigeons. A little ringed plover flew in to land near another green sandpiper and there was a large flock of lapwings. We remarked on how great white egrets are impressive when they fly: three here this afternoon, plus little egrets, both now routine sightings at Hickling.

By the path, two blue-tailed damselflies floated around, and one settled for long enough to allow photos. A reed warbler sang briefly – more of sub-song, really. At the far end of Brendan’s Marsh we scanned an open area and found a Chinese water deer looking at us.

Blue-tailed damselfly (Helen Crowder).

No surprise that on a warm summer’s day there were plenty of butterflies around. Red admirals were in good numbers: these included six on a patch of hemp agrimony during the morning. Other included speckled woods, gatekeepers, green-veined and small whites, and a peacock soaking up warmth in a hollow in a broken tree trunk.

Peacock butterfly.
Stubb Mill was the walk’s farthest point, somewhere to enjoy the benches and the view. We returned along the route we’d come, with a welcome breeze now, adding a fine view of a female sparrowhawk, marsh harrier, a single bar-tailed godwit in flight and a flock of ten calling curlews.

Mating small whites at the Stubb Mill viewpoint, with Heigham Holmes in the background.

A lovely plant of chicory outside NWT Hickling's visitor centre.

Back at the visitor centre, Rachel was still showing the wasp spider to visitors.

Chris Durdin

Thursday 10 August 2023

Thompson Common 10 August 2023

The fine, hot weather was true to the forecast – about time after a mixed few weeks – as eight of us gathered to visit NWT’s Thompson Common nature reserve centre, ready for our 10 o’clock start. Though some distance from water, our first dragonflies were in the car park: a flying emperor, a ‘hanging’ female migrant hawker and a pair of common darters in tandem.

Common darters 'in tandem' (digiscoped).

We took the winding path through open woodland, where a speckled wood was flying around, and were soon where the common is a mix of long grass and wild flowers, along with accessible pingos. On the first of these was a common emerald damselfly, with lots of powder-blue pruinescence. Ruddy darters were everywhere: not only were several pairs flying in tandem, we could also see the female flicking her tail end, shooting eggs into the grass around the wetland edge. At one point, Ann’s arm was in the way of this process and two eggs stuck to her wrist. Notable flowers in the water included lesser spearwort and hemlock water dropwort.

Two of the many ruddy darters today (Helen Crowder).

Spotted flycatchers, probably the best of today’s birds, moved around the edge of the willow scrub and hawthorn hedge on the other side of the pond. Through the telescope it was evident that there were young birds here, pale and distinctly spotty. A little later we found what seemed to be second family party of spotted flycatchers, at least four of them, a treat for what is now such a scarce bird in much of the UK. We heard Cetti’s warbler and found a great spotted woodpecker in one of the dead ashes. Other birds today included calling water rail, marsh tit, coal tit and bullfinches, though none of these showed well. Happily, as well as hearing the strident whistles of nuthatches, we also saw them.

Gall on creeping thistle, caused by thistle gall fly Urophora cardui.

We moved to the pingo on the other side of the main path, and here we found scarce emerald damselflies (robust spreadwings). A brown hawker was flying around. We talked about the gipsywort growing in a tussock sedge. 

Scarce emerald aka robust spreadwing (Helen Crowder).

Then a cry from Ann alerted us to a great find: a female wasp spider. These are spreading into Norfolk, though are still scarce: but this wasn’t a first for Thompson Common as this blog by Barry Madden from 2020 shows.

Wasp spider collage. The upper side, left is more distinctive. On the photo of the under side, right, you can also see the distinctive zigzag 'stabilimentum' in the web. The purpose of this visible web decoration is unknown. 

Naturally the sunshine brought out butterflies, including peacocks on hemp agrimony, gatekeepers, green-veined white, holly blues and a probable brown argus. Brimstones, which at first were flying around, then settled on fleabane flowers, four or five in one area.


Spot the brimstone among the common fleabane.
On the furthest area we reached, we paused by patches of red bartsia growing by the path’s edge. The search was on for red bartsia bee, a very scarce - or perhaps overlooked – species that seems to be moving north. It didn’t take long and there were at least two of these grey-backed, three-striped bees. As is characteristic, they proved very difficult to photograph.

It was time to re-trace steps to the car park to eat picnics. Helen noticed a willow emerald damselfly flying into a perched position, where it stayed for us to see. Just before we were leaving, a male banded demoiselle landed near Tricia’s car.

Chris Durdin

Friday 14 July 2023

Wildflowers and Meadows in Eaton Park, Norwich, 13 July 2023


Guest blog by Sarah Scott, Friends of Eaton Park

Walk arranged by Friends of Eaton Park, with Chris Durdin, Thursday 13 July 2023 6pm.

We were lucky again with the weather: a few spits and spots of rain at the start, but clear and dry for the rest of the walk.  Twelve of us set off from the Rotunda and first stop was the wildflower area between the two model railway enclosures.  This area was originally planted with heathers, but they deteriorated some years ago and the Friends of Eaton Park - in collaboration with the City Council - replaced them with an area of seeded wildflowers.  The beds were a riot of colour for our visit, and we identified: Musk Mallow, Betony, Clary, Greater Knapweed, Ladies Bedstraw (an exceptionally tall version), Wild Carrot and Restharrow.  There was also some bright pink Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, and Chris used one of the flowers to show us the characteristic structure of pea flowers – the upper petal (the standard), two side petals (wings) and two lower petals, fused together (the keel).

Betony was in both its usual reddish-purple colour and several in this white form.

Broad-leaved everlasting pea.

Restharrow: like several of the flowers in the first area, unusually tall.
Our next stop was inside the large enclosure of the model railway. Before the railway extended into this area of the park, it was the site of a row of clay tennis courts.  In order to lay the railway lines, the courts were broken up and the debris was piled up in mounds. No other preparation, or seed sowing took place, so the meadow growth in this area is entirely natural and utterly different from the previous stop.  We spotted Haresfoot Clover, two kinds of Trefoil (Birdsfoot and Hop), Cranesbills (Dovesfoot) and Yarrow. Bee Orchids are thriving in this part of the park but they are best seen earlier in the year (first weeks of June).

Time was running out at this stage, so we headed straight to the main meadow (on the North Park Avenue side of the park) pausing enroute to look at: Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Procumbent Pearlwort, Knotgrass, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantains (Buckshorn and Ribwort) and Burdock. Most of these were growing out of cracks in the concrete next to the boating lake.  We also spotted a fern (Polypody) growing in the gutter of the old putting green hut!

Common polypody, in the gutter of the old putting green hut.

The North Park meadow is now well established and there was lots to see there: Lesser Knapweed, Yellow Rattle (largely gone to seed with visible – rattly - seed heads), Ladies Bedstraw (the usual, shorter version), Common Ragwort (complete with Red Soldier Beetles, aka Hogweed Bonking Beetle!), Hedge Mustard and grasses (Cocksfoot, Timothy, Yorkshire Fog), White Campion and Catsear.

We discussed the maintenance of the meadow, which is cut just once a year and has clear paths for public access. This year, in September, it will be cut by a party of scythers (in conjunction with Norfolk Wildlife Trust) and – as in previous years – an area will be left overwinter as a ‘refuge’ for insects.

The grasshoppers were very active during our visit but, sadly, we didn’t spot any wasp spiders on this occasion – maybe later in the summer. Despite not finding the spiders we finished up with a fascinating discussion about the ‘stabilimentum’ which is a wide, white, zig-zag strip running down the centre of the web. There are various suggestions as to its purpose – attracting a mate? Attracting prey? Visible at night? But the jury is still out on this one.  The wonders of nature!

Thank you, Chris, for another entertaining and informative ramble.

Sarah Scott

Group members around an area sown with wild flowers.


Valencia: bird ringing sheds light on wetland warbler survival

For many Honeyguiders, one of the highlights of our March Valencia trip is to attend a bird ringing session at Pego Marshes Natural Park. Ou...