Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Return to Summer, and a new Discovery . . .

Last week was a wet, chilly, typically autumnal week with little prospect of dragonhunting....until Thursday when it was a pleasant surprise to find the sun shining. I really couldn't be bothered to venture out very far however thanks to the littlest'un keeping us awake half the night, but with dragonhunting sessions now at a premium I had to get out somewhere, so Far Pasture beckoned again.
I'd been down there earlier in the week during a heavy shower and was rewarded with another sighting of the regular otters there, again distant but at least they hung around for a while this time, playing and fishing, but needless to say no dragons on view thanks to the inclement weather.

The two playful otters at Far Pasture, a magical experience for
anyone to observe.
Pic taken earlier that day by Roly Ingram
Today the hide was freezing, even the intermittent bouts of sunshine couldn't warm the place up, and I spent almost two hours there with just a few pairs of common darter as entertainment, as sadly the otters decided not to turn up on this occasion. But still time to try and seek out some dragons before making my way back home to real life.
My leaving the hide co-incided with a good sunny spell and a fantastic discovery! Midway inside a field beyond a gate which I often pass, a sudden explosion of dragonflies caught my attention, quite a lot in a small area, maybe a basking area I thought, but whatever, curiosity got the better of me so I jumped the gate and followed a track for no more than 50 metres, then couldn't believe my eyes as it suddenly opened up to a secret pond, nay an oasis, and I was immediately transported back to summer, the place was absolutely teeming with dragonflies in a frenzy of ovipositing! At least 16, perhaps 20 pairs of common darters in tandem, more singles busily scouring for mates, and males of migrant hawker and southern hawker patrolling too, what a discovery!
Pair of Common Darters in the mating wheel
One of maybe 24 pairs observed in the area that day
 
Above me soared three buzzards, a red kite, a sparrowhawk and a kestrel in quick succession, and over 20 swallows heading south. A singing chiffchaff complemented the summer scene before a female southern hawker zipped in and started ovipositing on the nearside bank of the pond.
The male southern hawker also returned and gave some exquisite views as he hovered in short bursts in the bright sunshine.
Female Southern hawker ovipositing next to the secret pond
What a bonus!

So really worth turning out today. A quick return to summer, and a new site to keep an eye on next year, though I will have to seek permission to record here in the future for the BDS.       

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