Archive for the 'Birding' Category

By: Reflections Eco Reserve  11-11-2011

Category Archive for ‘Birding’ at Reflections Eco Reserve

Life is strange! In nature in order to survive a species must breed and in order to breed a species must survive! What I find fascinating, as a naturalist, is the endless designs that nature has evolved to solve this conundrum.

Southern Red Bishops are small birds that provide a great local example. They are common, nest communally and don’t appear to be remarkably agile in flight. Easy pickings for a Sparrowhawk, or maybe not .

In order to survive they are incredibly non- descript  and camouflaged.  The difficulty is, being territorial, the males need, at certain times of the year, to see each other and need to be seen by the females. The solution is a quick and timely moult of all that drabness into breeding splendour. The change is quite remarkable and has to be timed perfectly. If they change to early they risk being eaten before mating and if they change back out of the plumage to late they risk not making it to the following breeding season. Survival sits on a very thin line indeed!

An "Orange Dog" caterpillar

The larva  of the Citrus Swallowtail butterfly has taken the art of deception to a higher level. Referred to as “Orange Dogs” these caterpillars have evolved the strategy of looking just like a bird’s dropping’s, stunning in its simplicity and very effective .

They have solved the survival balance of finding a partner in a more intricate manner , it involves the changing of the physical structure to facilitate the changing needs. Having survived being viewed as a slow moving  tasty morsel they undergo a stunning metamorphosis from a “  bird dropping “  to a  fast moving,  highly visible , regal Adult Citrus Swallowtail butterfly.

Isn’t nature incredible!

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Archive for the 'South Africa' Category

This is fantastic and those that are making the effort deserve our support, but many others are making false claims, an example in this area would be for a an eco-lodge that is green due to being surrounded by a National Park, having a large(non- indigenous plant) garden as well as a nice view.