How amazing is the natural world?

I spend some time every week out in a nature reserve somewhere with my son and there is always something that fascinates me. This week it was the Brimstone butterfly. I have known for some time that it lays its eggs in buckthorn. We were watching a female brimstone on Thursday fluttering around the hedge in a local reserve. It went from one to another then found one to settle on and lay an egg. She flew off and flew around before coming back to another similar branch of buckthorn. Now what fascinates me is this – how did she know which branches were buckthorn? Does the branch exude some kind of smell or what?

There are other things about nature that have happened recently, like the frogs and toads going back to where they were spawned. How do they know where to go? We, so-called superior beings, have to use maps or a Satnav to find places yet the humble toad and frog head off crossing roads and fields to get back to where they were born.

In the summer I spend hours watching dragonflies and damselflies during their mating dances and the laying of eggs. I have watched the birds displaying their mating dances too. How fascinating is all of this. They do these things naturally and know what to do and when. How clever they are. We do not understand a lot about our natural world but it fascinates me whether I understand it or not. I feel that we underestimate what animals, birds and insects can do. Photo taken by my son who has given his permission for me to use it here.

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