Sunday, 8 September 2013

A Darter in the Hand . . . .

A few 'firsts' today.
At Shibdon Pond my first Ruff, Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit of the year.
Other birdy highlights of the morning were a pink-footed goose in with the greylags at Lamesley, and a brief in-flight view of a Kingfisher in the same area.

Then down to business, Kibblesworth for black darter, last of the Super 16 in the Gateshead dragonfly calendar, and the first time I'll have photographed all 16 in one summer if we could hunt one out.
I needn't have worried; I locked onto a black darter as we approached the pool, a bit of patience and I would soon have my shots :

The black Darter pool at Kibblesworth

First black darter photographed in the borough this year
and first ever at Kibblesworth (for me that is)

So there it was, a complete set of Gateshead dragon photos in one season (though I need to include the crappy common hawker flight shot I got at the same pool back in July), and actually my first ever black darter at Kibblesworth, last year I got them at Burdon Moor and the year before it was Stargate.

We then had one in good view as the sun disappeared so it was easy to approach and get some good shots.

But as soon as the sun came out again he was off, hovering just in front of me, so I stuck out my hand just below him and he landed on it, much to the mirth of the Birdman,with the result that he got some cracking photos while I just looked at it, tiny at such close quarters, robotic head movements, abdomen pulsating, just a shame it didn't poo on me :)
I wrestled with my camera, eventually pointing it in the general direction of the darter at point blank range and pressing the button in the hope I would (a) get him in the picture and (b) get him in focus. With the result :

Not too bad considering . . .

Just a record shot really but a memorable little cameo. Look on the Birdman of Gateshead blog today and you'll find a picture of me taking that picture. Not a pretty sight but worth a laugh!

There were at least 3 or 4 male S. danae on site but disappointingly no females so I'll still try and get up to Stargate this week if the weather is favourable.
We also tried to pin down an elusive Ruddy Darter amongst all the frenzied mating taking place around the ponds by the common darters, too many to count. I'm sure I got on a couple of ruddies with my bins but so much skirmishing going on nothing settled long enough for photos. But hopefully there'll be other opportunities yet.
Time running out but still plenty to go for. As well as female black darter and migrant hawker, I'd still like better photos of a ruddy darter and common hawker. I'll be keeping an eye on the weather forecasts that's for sure :)    

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