Thursday, 17 October 2013

Nice day, but could have been better . . .

Checking the met office forecast each day for the last week I'd been looking forward to Thursday as it has remained the only day likely to be free of the cold, wet and gloom of an otherwise crappy mid-October.
So a bonus was the sunshine which greeted me this morning, the only downside now was that the schoolteachers were on strike (typical) so I was left with two sprogs to look after. This meant I couldn't get up to Shibdon to check for Migrant Hawkers or even the damhead for leaping salmon (river levels should be v.high after all the rain) so a walk along to Far Pasture (for a change) was my best option to see if the cold and rain over the last week or so had seen off the last of the dragonflies.

Well they're a hardy bunch, with the sun out in blue skies the roadside fences were still dotted with a decent number of darters, and every now and then tandem pairs flew up out of the fields over towards the pond.
On the pond itself there were maybe half a dozen pairs and a few singles, though we didn't stay long as my sprogs are not the quietest in the presence of others in the hide.

So I just stood at the gate halfway along the road chatting to Roly as the boys scootered up and down. Best birds in the area were two kestrels, a buzzard ignoring about forty jackdaws, and a flock of 24 redwings circling a couple of times.

A blurry kestrel on a distant fence, but look at the bright sunshine

Serenaded by a Robin, and look at those
blue skies ....magic!
At last a hawker came on the scene, a female southern, showing well and buzzing us on a few occasions but not posing for photos. I snapped a few darters (as you never know when its going to be your last) and a pristine comma which must have just recently emerged to be in such good condition.

Strong colours . . .

Strong light . . .

Strong shadows . . .

Strong contrast . . .

Strong composition . . .

Other butterflies still present were a white species and what looked like a raggy meadow brown (not my strongest subject).
Back up the track another hawker, this time male and very dark so I think common, unfortunately a car came along the road as I was tracking it so had to reel in the kids and couldn't relocate it.

A canny little session though, would liked to have got along to Shibdon in view of the number of dragons still showing here, but tomorrow is forecast to be shitty :(
What might have been . . . (now for the Scooby Doo ending). . . if it wasn't for those meddling kids !



  1. I was quite excited to see a single Common Darter in Wallsend today so you had a canny crop there. That Comma was a stunner.
    Can I ask you Alan where this damhead is that you speak of, I've been wanting to see leaping Salmon for some time.