Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Season 2012 Review

Well that's October over and done with, and with the weather deteriorating day by day I think it's finally time to declare the 2012 Dragonhunting season over.
It's been a strange one but not without a good few highlights. After taking a while to get going (do I have to mention the spring rains again?) the early season highlight was getting some cracking shots of a male broad-bodied chaser, and on the same day I got male banded demoiselle as well, so two of my early season targets in one go.
I next caught up with black-tailed skimmer, the only Gateshead dragon to elude me last year, with the added bonus of a mating pair so getting both sexes at once.
On the downside, numbers were well down on 2011, though I was disappointed not to get back to Kibblesworth after the skimmers as it wasn't checked much by anyone later in the season, again mainly down to the weather not being agreeable when my limited opportunities arose.

In my home valley, Far Pasture was a tale of two halves, with not a single four-spotted chaser being seen all summer, small numbers of damsels were the only attraction early on, right up until mid August when the first darters appeared, but late season it was excellent for numbers of species seen with common, southern and migrant hawkers present, and plenty of photo opportunities for common and ruddy darter, and of course the late season black darter was a tremendous find, meaning I've now recorded 15 of the regular 16 Gateshead dragons here since 2006.
My other favourite site locally, Thornley woods Pond, was as usual excellent viewing for Southern Hawkers, with all sorts of behaviour witnessed, great entertainment and some canny photos to boot.
Another double up of highlights was mid-September at Burdon Moor, with several Black Darters present and some cracking photos of a male Southern Hawker, who posed beautifully for us on the trunk of a tree.     
Outside of Gateshead, more black darters at Cragside in Northumberland, and my first ever female here, and an unforgettable Golden-ringed Dragonfly at Pow Hill Country Park, Derwent reservoir.

So that's it then, once again mixed feelings, superb highlights but not enough of them, and proposed visits to sites out of the area to catch up with new species just never materialised thanks to the weather being poor when the opportunities were there. Frustrating, but there's always next year.

Over the winter I'll keep posting anything that might be of interest, either dragonfly specific or of wildlife in general, and here's hoping the coming months bring a few Waxwings, my favourite avian winter visitor.


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