Friday, 26 August 2011

Chasing the Devil

I begin with a few interesting non-dragonfly sightings I neglected to mention from last weekend. On Sunday a couple of furry animals made an appearance. At Kibblesworth a vole ran almost under my feet as I was looking down for black darters, from the lighter colouring and quite long tail I would say a bank vole, then at Far Pasture a wood mouse was giving good views as it repeatedly took seed left by photographers who entice the birds down in the car park that way.

But back to Saturday and a family trip to Gibside was spent almost entirely in the new adventure play park, so no pond visits but a hot sunny day for the most part highlighted by three flyover Crossbills and only my second ever sighting of a Giant Wood Wasp. Now these really are big, scary (though harmless) insects, I kept my eye on it as it sped around the play area (thinking it was a dragonfly of sorts) on golden wings, and only when it came close enough did I realise what it was, having had my first ever sighting just five days earlier at Wallington, strangely enough in the adventure play park there too!

Strangest sight of the day though was reserved for the car park. As I was packing up the buggy to put in the boot I happened to look along the row of cars to the main path, where to my astonishment a mini dust devil was slowly making its way along. Yip, a miniature whirlwind, probably three to four feet across and about twelve feet high, a whirling mass of dust blowing along the dirt-track. I only viewed it for perhaps 5 or 6 seconds when it suddenly dematerialised as it hit tarmac. A first for me that, and a very strange sight indeed.

Back to the important matter of dragonflies though, and Migrant Hawkers on the wing at last, with three foraging males seen in two days midweek while out on scouting missions. No photographs as of yet but these late-flying dragons will be around through September and October so no hurry.
All three individuals were seen in the Derwent Valley at Kite hill, Clockburn Lake and off the Derwent Walk near Far Pasture. None yet in the popular bull field opposite the saw mill though, but this my thirteenth species sighting of the year in the valley, and more than likely the final dragon on that particular list. Only a stray black darter could boost the total now I would think, but that just an outside hope rather than expected. 

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