Sunday, 2 June 2013

A cracking day out, but no dragons . . .

Spent most of the day at Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre where I was putting up an exhibition of artwork (including a trio of dragonfly based pictures) See my art blog for details.

Advert over; after lunch we (better half and the 3 sprogs) had a good trek around. Some cracking 'plastic' ducks here, and it's great to get real good close-ups of (one of my favourites) the drake smew, what a handsome chap he is, only ever seen one in the wild!
The hooded merganser was another favourite, but out in the truly wild areas it was a treat to get cracking views of 5 Avocets, and a couple of little ringed plovers.
All in all a great family day out, though highlight had to be the Asian short-clawed otters, lovely little things but I wouldn't like a bite off them after seeing them feed. Some photos of my favourites :

A common crane

Drake Smew - great bird, crap photo

One of five avocets seen today

Another with l-rps in background 

Asian short-clawed otters - kids loved 'em

cuties or wat?

Where's me dinner ?

Hooded Merganser - plastic fantastic

Feeding time at the flamingoes

Filter - feeding

One of the youngsters

feeding time at the otters

Looks a bit tough

Cute - but you want to see the fangs ! 

The only disappointment was all that water and not a single damselfly to be seen, no excuse, the sun shone brightly for a good part of the day, just none there. So a bit of a downer when Birdman txts to say there's a broad-bodied chaser at Stargate. Great, in fact about a week and a half early for that species going off past years, but can't wait to catch up with them as it's one of the dragon highlights of the year.        


  1. Enjoying the post then got really excited when you said Steve had seen Broad-bodied Chasers at Stargate. Only been into Dragons for a couple of years and seen have Golden-ringed and White-faced Darters but not the BBC. I've tried, but missed them in and around the Gateshead area but no luck. Can I ask whereabouts they are seen at's quite a big area.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. No probs Johnny, they thrive in open shallow ponds and stargate has an excellent one just in from the eastern entrance (off the Beweshill lane roundabout). Just follow the track 'til it opens out and the pond is in front of you (best at the right hand end). They patrol the pond perimeter so best way to attract one for photos is to make a makeshift perch ie stick a twig in the edge of the pond where one is patrolling and wait for it to land. And make sure its a sunny day or experience tells me they won't show. Good luck, let me know how you get on.

  3. Thanks again.
    Is that the entrance where the car park is ?
    The pond that is fished regularly with the platforms around ??............or is there another pond or ponds ?? (I don't know the area very well)

  4. Hi Johnny, no worries I'll post a new entry with a map, I'd email you but my emails aren't working properly so can't add an attachment. Will do it shortly.