Sunday, 28 July 2013

A Dragonhunting Disaster . . .

. . . the only words to describe my first week of the school holidays.

My misfortune began on Monday, when a family trip to Cragside (which always brings up some goodies) co-incided with the first overcast day for yonks, hence only a brief UFD hawker and a few distant blue damsels (also unidentified) were all I had to show for a day in good dragon country. Never mind, we'll be back later in August for the Black Darters which showed brilliantly well here last year.

Next up was Pow Hill on Friday, where I was hoping to repeat last years success with a golden-ringed dragonfly. We first took the kids on a scooter-ride around the lower levels, finding three common hawkers and a single large-red damsel in the fenced off boggy heath, but before we could undertake part two of our 'adventure' (a walk to the upper carpark to see the red squirrels and hopefully connect with a golden-ringed on the way) Sprog3 had one of his mega-tantrums (and I mean MEGA) with the result that due to stress and embarrassment we just packed up and drove home. As you can probably imagine I wasn't best pleased (massive understatement).

So to Saturday afternoon, and with Sprog3 well and truly grounded I took numbers 1 and 2 to Far Pasture, where we had a pleasant couple of hours but dragon-wise was an unbelievable disappointment.
Despite the sunshine only a single blue-tailed damsel was seen on the main pond, couldn't believe it, I expected darters to be out in force by now. Notably the water level was very low, and a single common snipe on the far island was the avian highlight.
The roadside fence (and the road itself) is always great for viewing and photographing basking darters around this time (especially ruddy) but none to be seen, though a UFD hawker flew over us towards the pond (except we were going the other way), so another big disappointment.
 The rough area leading to the 'forbidden' pond has recently been massacred so nothing at all there, and the pond itself is now no bigger than a puddle, again I was amazed that not a single dragon or damsel was present, though 3 Green Sandpipers was an unexpected surprise ( and a single site record for yours truly I think).

The Forbidden Puddle

Two of the Three Green Sands present

So that was it, Week 1 of the hols was a load of bollocks. Just a couple of queries to finish off with. First this strange looking creature was on the kitchen window the other day. No idea what it was but it didn't look very pleasant (though it probably said the same about me), and (strangely for the time of year) a swan with a yellow and black bill was in with the Mute Swans on Saltwell Park Pond but I couldn't make my mind up as to whether it was a Whooper or a Bewick's. Any thoughts :

Queer Beast ?

Come in Number 6 . . . .

 Sorry, couldn't resist ;)


  1. AHHHH sprogs, where would we be without them ??
    Out there enjoying ourselves !
    I've still got a 30-odd year old at home, you want to see one of his megas !!
    Did y get much rain last night ? it tipped it down in segedunumland 3 or 4 times overnight. You may have a Forbidden Pond on your hands again. 3 Green Sands ! .........very nice, i'd be quite happy with them.

  2. A second thought Alan. The only Golden-ringed i've seen (the missus actually spotted it) was at Baybridge, just along the road from Derwent Res. It was in the picnic area next to the bridge hanging on some bracken/ ferns.

  3. Aye, the derwent was well in flood today so it should have done the ponds a bit of good :)
    I think golden-ringed are widespread in the Derwent Res area but not too numerous so difficult to find. I've actually just got directions of where to find them at Hamsterley forest and Tunstall Res so will hopefully find one afore long :) sprogs permitting!

  4. Lamesley and the flash pool are full to the brim again, so im sure the forbiddin pond will be full aswell :) should be ok for the rest off the season now? :0