|Gibside Hall from far Pasture roadside|
looking splendid m the autumn surroundings
But the session finished well when a hunting migrant hawker in the bull field (which incidentally now has horses in) turned out to be a female when it eventually came close enough and away from the sun's rays. A cracking bright yellow specimen, she seemed to be in prime condition, but better still, the first I've come across this year. I watched her hawking the field for some minutes in hope she would land close by for a photo opportunity but it wasn't to be, and after feasting on a host of little flying greeblies (quite low down at times) she disappeared in the distance. But I was well happy with the sighting.
Earlier a southern hawker (male) also proved elusive along the access road, and there was still a double-figure count of common darters, mainly over-mature females but a few prime males around and three tandem couples.
|A very over-ripe female now sporting the leather look|
|The 'rusty' wings of this male give his age away too|
|Unlike the hawkers, the darters don't mind posing|
for the camera.
note this individual shows an extended frons, unusual in common darters.
From the hide just a few darters on the pond, and 13 basking snipe were the pick of the birdies here. Goldcrest in the car park and a mixed tit-flock carried a chiffchaff through as well. The raptor count was disappointing for the conditions, 3 kites, 2 buzzards, 1 each of kestrel and sparrowhawk.
A glorious afternoon, not many left now I'll bet.