Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Nightmare continues . . . .

Yip, the nightmare that is British Summertime continued this week with the worst flash floods I've ever known locally and wind and rain for most of the overcast week. All this is not good for Dragonhunting, another fruitless visit to Far Pasture and a Gibside trek abandoned due to rain were the last attempts at finding new species in June, and the first day of July proved not much better.

A long overdue visit to the borough's premier site, Kibblesworth Brickwork Pools, was made despite the still overcast conditions in the hope of seeing a Black-tailed Skimmer (a prime target species after dipping last year) which had been noted by a fellow dragonhunter on Friday.
Needless to say there were none to be seen today, but more discouraging was the lack of Four-spotted chasers, which usually numerous here, have been seen only in noticeably small numbers. Certainly none flying today and none found perched up either after a search of the thicker reedbed at the far end of the main pond which is usually a good place to find them.
Brief spells of sunshine brought a few damsels out in the open, azure and blue-tailed noted, and now and again a freshly emerged Common Darter, still with the milky crinkled wings and dull ochre colouring of the teneral stage would flit up out of the grass, one noteably snatched out of the air by a low-flying swift as I watched it float upwards from the grassy margins of the pond.
Eventually a photo opportunity came my way and I was able to snap this teneral female, my first Common Darter of the year.

Teneral Common darter female at Kibblesworth Pools
First sighting of the year of this species

Dragonfly version of Where's Wally?
How many dragons and damsels can you see on this pic?

A brief but heavy shower finally persuaded us to call it a day, but on the way home we decided to check out Thornley Woods Pond for signs of Southern Hawker emergence, and sure enough a couple of exuvia were found hanging from emergent grasses proving the first of them are on the wing.

Another year first with this exuvia from
a Southern hawker Dragonfly
(Thornley woods Pond)
Always a great site (and sight) at the height of summer so a session here will no doubt prove as entertaining as ever a bit later in the season. Immediate plans are to catch up with Black-tailed skimmer, and hopefully a sunny day this week will lend an opportunity, so fingers crossed for that.

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