Tuesday, 13 May 2014

More of the Same . . .

As I was in the area I had a look on Thornley Woods Pond again this morning and had more success with Large Red Damselflies.

Five exuvia found in the patchy clumps of grass along the nearside, and this newly emerged teneral male :

There it was, basking in what little sunshine we had this morning, though
the photo is deceptive, he was in thick grass low down and I had to
clear the way to poke the camera lens through.

But then he took a brief flight and I used
a 'spotter fly' to track him down . . . not !

Immature male Large Red damsel, first I've seen.
Pale red abdomen will develop black towards the tip,  and yellow
antehumeral stripes which will turn red as he matures.

The main area for likely emergence here is at the far side of the pond, which is inaccessible due to the thick growth of brambles, but I thought I'd walk around the path there and see if there were any immatures basking on the bramble leaves as the sun was shining by now (though not for long).
Bingo, this young female was right by the path :

At last, a specimen in good view 

Nice deep red abdomen but wings still showing the milky sheen of a teneral

Then lifted up to show a nice profile view 

And an unusual shot of the underside of the
abdomen, showing the small, curved ovipositor.

A good scan with the bins didn't produce anything else, but still quite pleased with my fieldcraft
and I thought I'd check for the recently seen Pied Flycatcher further in the woods, now I knew what to listen for after seeing maybe half a dozen at Muggleswick on Sunday.

Pied Flycatcher from Muggleswick
(one of many)

No luck I'm afraid, looks like it's moved on. But I did find a pair of treecreepers taking nesting materials into a split in a tree so that'll be worth keeping an eye on, and a really smart-looking fox trotted into view out of the undergrowth. I stayed perfectly still as it was no more than 40 feet away and it too came to a halt in the middle of the path for a cracking view, though of course when it turned to look in my direction it did a momentary freeze then shot off into the dene.

Still, not bad for a hastily grabbed hour of wildlife watching, and probably my last for the week, but with warmth forecast there may be a few blue damsels around by the time I'm next out. :-)       

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