Sunday, 6 October 2013

October, but still going . . .

First time out today for almost a fortnight; been catching up with some work and doing a bit of painting. Just finished this ink and watercolour study of a broad-bodied chaser :

Broad-bodied Chaser (male)
Libellula depressa

Will probably put it on display in Newcastle Library next month along with a ruddy darter I'm working on.  

Anyway a very pleasant hour or so at Far Pasture around mid-day today in the late-season sunshine.

On the way along the access road I took this photo of a common darter thinking it might be my last of the season but I needn't have worried.

On the pond maybe a dozen or so common darters visible with a few pairs ovipositing, and a migrant hawker doing its rounds. 14 Snipe were the best birds on show and a brief flypast by a kingfisher. Other birds of note were a jay and a reed bunting.
To be honest I probably spent too long in the hide as it was much better outside in the sunshine.

A couple of bank voles were coming to the seed and nuts left out on the flat rock in the car park, and two willow tits joined the throng of commoner birds. A southern hawker flew through the car park and a migrant hawked the fields opposite.
Three red kites, two buzzards and a kestrel were the raptors on show enjoying the warm air and slightly cooler breeze.
A quick look at the forbidden pond, flushed a green sand, but just a few darters here too. Back on the roadside I was tormented by another migrant hawker which came very close but wouldn't settle, then a southern hawker obliged briefly before I flushed it when my shadow went over it as I approached (d'oh!).

I didn't realise 'til I looked at the photos that it had some damage to both rear wings, a couple of chunks out of the left and the whole outer half missing of the right, snapped off at the wing-node, so I presume a very mature male with all that wear and tear.

My final photo produced a bit of an ooh when I saw it. This facial shot of a darter on the fence shows a bit of an extended frons making me hope it might be a vagrant darter :O

I've checked loads of photos and (though there is a lot of variation) seen plenty of examples with just a small moustache like this one. Unfortunately I only took one shot as once again I didn't realise the anomaly 'til I looked at the photo back at home, but ironically after all the darters I've photographed this year which appear slightly club-tailed (a feature of the vagrant darter) this one looks to be as straight as a strialatum :(

Still, a bit of mystery brightens the day, and not too many of those left according to the forecast :(


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