Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Man on a Mission : Ruddy Darter

With the Common Darters out at Far Pasture I got to thinking the Ruddy Darters might be out by now too, one of my favourite dragons, petite and rich red, the mature male is a cracking sight.
So off I trekked more in hope than expectation, been a funny old summer thus far, especially at this particular site, but a good dragonfly day weather-wise and as I turned the bend on the approach road I thought I should check out the area by the roadside ditch-pond as it's turned up trumps many times in the past.
Lo and behold the first dragon I see on the side of the road looks suspiciously like a male ruddy, a look through my bins confirms it but it disappears before I can extract my camera from my bag.
A bit of a wait and it fails to reappear so I decide to check out the pond and get it on the way back.

The pond is pretty barren at first glance but I detect a few emerald damsels dotted about and a couple of common darters sweeping low across the water. A tandem pair soon follow and in the end there were probably 7 or 8 darters in view, all common.

I returned to the roadside and after spotting another couple of common darters here my wait finally ended as the male ruddy zipped in and landed on the road, where I reeled off a couple of record shots then got closer for a few snaps of better quality from a variety of angles, and even a pretty poor in-flight shot.
As I snapped away a second male arrived on the scene, a brief skirmish and they were off, but one soon returned to land on the fence opposite where I took my last picture of the day.

Mission accomplished - Ruddy Darter in the bag and my total of species seen for the year leaps up to 16, one ahead of last years total, though my Gateshead total is 15 (level with last year) with black darter still to get for a complete list of the boroughs breeding Odonata.

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