But I'm happy to say the good weather had brought the demoiselles out in droves at Hagg Hill. I've never seen so many on the derwent, with up to 20 males and maybe half a dozen females showing both sides of the river in the glorious sunshine. Melees galore involving 2-4 males, and those 'keystone cops' style chases they are famous for when a string of four or five males will chase a female across the river, the fluttering, almost slow-motion zig-zagging flight a joy to watch.
I txted the Birdman who just happened to be at home so turned up a few minutes later. We tried to get some photos of those which landed closest but that's the only downside of this viewing point, it's too high up for good photos, I reeled off a few record shots and hopefully Birdman will have some better ones but after a while I gave up and just enjoyed the spectacle.
|Banded Demoiselles at Hagg Hill (females)|
|Banded Demoiselles at Hagg Hill (males)|
I started the return journey and had a look from the Butterfly Bridge at the stretch leading up to Clockburn Lake but not a demoiselle to be seen (though a kingfisher was fishing from a high branch, always nice to see). Maybe the floods of the last couple of years has taken it's toll on the species here, the 'scape of the river has changed and doesn't seem as slow moving as it used to be. The Lake itself still has many a blue-tailed damsel, and still some teneral specimens kicked up as I made way along the path.
I continued my journey home and stopped at points along the river which had been successful in the past, but no luck anywhere. Last stop was Nine-arches Viaduct from where I could view the loop of the river around the meadows, but no further demoiselles to report. I couldn't really be bothered to walk around the meadows for a closer look, the heat was stifling at this stage.
I chatted with a bloke who advised me not to go to Far Pasture as the hide was full of photographers waiting for the kingfishers to show, some of whom had been there since 6am! (must've been like a Turkish bath in there) so I went to Far Pastures (but not the hide) and got some cracking shots of a Broad-bodied Chaser on the forbidden pond (sorry John) where the weekend visitors had left a perfect perch for the purpose.
The pond is drying out rapidly here now, never thought I'd say this, but we could do with a bit of rain!