Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Last Hurrah?

Finished me ink and watercolour study of a Ruddy Darter I mentioned last post, might do a black darter next :

Ruddy Darter (male)
 Sympetrum sanguineum
Needed to go to the Metrocentre this morning so cycled along there, stopping off at the viaduct for a quick raptor scan, and bumped in to a fellow artist (and raptor specialist) Mike Henry, who funnily enough I hadn't seen since this time last year in near enough the same place. Our half-hour chat co-incided with some decent red kite activity, probably six birds in all including a couple of this year's juvs.
A single buzzard was the only other raptor around but three swallows heading south, a pied wagtail and a GS woodpecker flying over were the pick of the supporting cast before we parted company.

Job done I made the return journey but now didn't have time to call in on Shibdon where I was hoping to pick up a few waders and maybe a migrant hawker or two. The river level was so low it wasn't worth stopping at the damhead for salmon either so my first stop wasn't til Kite Hill where I patrolled slowly searching for migrant hawkers without success.
Only option now was Far Pasture, for possibly the last time this season now that the weather is set to turn for the worse.
Only darters on show today, maybe the wind kept the hawkers away but then again I didn't bother looking on the pond. The roadside fences held more old females than a grab-a-granny night.

One of many female common darters present at
Far Pasture roadside today 

And a male enjoying a meal of sorts

Still plenty around, though a quick look on the forbidden pond provided only a single patrolling male and a female ovipositing alone, quite a difference from this time last year when the mating frenzy here involved 60+ darters during the October mini-heatwave, just shows that no two years are the same where wildlife watching is concerned.

So that may be the final outing of the season, only time (and the weather) will tell. Maybe still time for that elusive female migrant hawker (haven't seen one yet this year never mind photographed one) but I'm not holding me breath on that one either.

But you never know; stay tuned . . . . . .


  1. Glad to hear it John. how are you doing? nowt on your blog for a while and John H mentioned you hadn't been well.

  2. I have back problems and they decided to flare up 5 weeks ago. I was house bound with spasms for nearly 4 weeks. On the mend and been out a couple of times recently, thank god.
    Thanks for asking Alan.

    1. Nasty. Glad to hear you're on the mend tho, look after yourself.