Thursday, 24 October 2013

Late October but another year-first :)

Just had to take advantage of the sunshine today but with only an hour or so to spare this meant yet another trip to Far Pasture.

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.


  1. Some nice sightings for you on a pleasant he types looking out of the window glumly today.
    Have you ever read anywhere Alan if there is a specific temperature at which the Dragons cannot survive ??

  2. No John but interesting question. I'll investigate and post later :)