We also had lots of uninvited guests. Saturday, May 18 was very wet (34mm) and the following day, still, warm, with light showers. Conditions were perfect for midges to emerge in their thousands for the first time this year, making life less than pleasant. The Highland Midge (Culcoides impunctatus), by far the most important of the 5 midges that bite humans in Scotland, breeds in damp, boggy ground of which the Highlands has a lot. They emerge in still, warm, humid conditions from around May onwards, with a preference for early morning and late afternoon. Only the females bite, to obtain a blood meal to provide protein for their eggs. There does not appear to be any way of controlling them and whilst bats and birds are predators they make little impact. Indeed, we will have a few pipistrelles later in the summer but there are none around at the moment despite the copious food source available.
|Highland Midge (dead!)|
There is an interesting paper at www.scri.ac.uk/scri/file/annualreports/2002/09Midges.pdf pointing the way forward for research and SNH produced a useful summary of midge ecology at http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/advisorynotes/29/29.htm
|Early Marsh Orchid|
|Northern Marsh Orchid|