Here are some photos to illustrate an odd food chain that we observed at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve this week.
Freshwater algae is eaten by Chironomid larvae, which hatch into clouds of adults...
That are eaten by the predatory Common Blue Damselflies with their big hunting eyes
That are eaten by the non-native Marsh Frogs
whose tadpoles are eaten by....
Common Terns - that really ought to be feeding Sandeels to their chicks, so perhaps the chicks are hungry and not hiding so well from the Herring Gulls.
Perhaps a caption is needed for this last image?
Some viewers may think this is gruesome, but it is just nature transporting the energy of the sun from the simple algae up the food chain to the top predator, the Herring Gull.
On the way it removes the less fit and maintains the health of the next generation.
Just imagine if all the tadpoles survived to grow into frogs, we would literally be knee deep in them within a very few years.