Monday, 28 May 2012

Scouting Missions and a nice cup of Tea

With a few new potential dragonhunting sites found over the winter months I've taken advantage of opportunities to sound a couple of them out.

On Saturday we took the kids out on a scooter ride at the top end of the Derwent Valley where I had rediscovered a small pond I'd forgotten about, adjacent to a wildflower meadow opposite Swalwell Visitor Centre. When I last visited in early winter it was no more than a dried up reedbed but the recent downpours have filled it up, new shoots coming through but despite a week of sunshine no damsels to report today. Will try again in a few weeks time I think when populations are a bit more conspicuous.

A second pond I had discovered is another in Gibside at the top end of the walled garden. It's well established and well managed so don't know how I've missed it, having passed there many a time as it's right next to the vegetable plots opposite the much-used overflow car park!
So with the kids at school this morning and the threat of it being the last day of sunshine for a few days, with my better half we drove up to Gibside for a little walk around and a cup of tea at the cafe.   
Unexpectedly met an old mate up there so after a long 'crack on' our time limitations were even more restricted, but we walked along to check out the pond (which was in the process of having the surrounding vegetation scythed away by the NT Rangers) but nevertheless came up trumps with the first Four-spotted Chaser of the year, (a Gibside first for me) and looking magnificent hovering with copper-tinged wings glinting in the glorious sunshine. Too distant for photographs I'm afraid but after watching it perched up for a while our all too brief stay then gave us another year first, a tandem pair of Large Red damsels. A second four-spot came on the scene, the inevitable skirmish took place and that was the last we saw of the chasers. Excellent. Just time for a nice pot of tea in the shade of a horse-chestnut tree in the cafe garden before we had to get back to pick up sprog3 from playgroup. Lovely way to spend a Monday morning, hope you're all jealous :)


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