Thursday, 10 July 2014

Pond . . ering


Dragon hunting been a bit slow lately. I've only managed a couple of hour-long stints at Thornley woods Pond, hoping to catch sight of some hawker emergence, but to no avail.

A week ago I got a surprise there however, when a broad-bodied Chaser swept across the pond three times before flying off at speed not to be seen again. Unsure if it was a female or an immature male, seemed darker than the one I saw just a couple of days earlier at Gibside but couldn't tell other than that. But whatever, it was a site first.
And today another surprise as this time a definite male zipped through the pond at about head height, could see his powder blue colouring as he sped off but the sighting was as brief as it was unexpected. Maybe the more open aspect of the pond after the felling is luring them in, though I don't think the pond itself is suitable breeding habitat for that particular species.

The only other species new on the pond today were a couple of common darters, both males, one more mature (red) than the other, and when the inevitable skirmishes occurred, the redder male came out on top, always returning to the prominent perch mid-pond, whereas the younger individual had to make do with the boardwalk. Just as well as it was the only place I could get half-decent photos.




Four poses of one common darter
due to the fact I couldn't get a photo of anything else :-( 

Many azures and a few large reds made up the damsel numbers, but the only other sighting of note was a large orange butterfly, which flew over my head from behind, across the pond and away. I managed to follow it through my bins and could see it certainly wasn't a painted lady so must have been a fritillary. Opinion of those who know more about butterflies than me (almost everyone  then :-) reckon most likely a Dark Green Fritillary, not something I can say I've seen before, so a nice record.

As nothing was coming to the pond I decided to spend the last of my allotted time walking around the woodland paths to seek out any foraging hawkers. I quickly stumbled across another common darter, and after watching a juv. GS Woodpecker for a while I spotted my target, a hawker in a bit of a clearing, which I lost again almost as quickly. But I waited around and it came back, eventually allowing me to ID it as an immature male common hawker.

That was that, other highlights were a roe deer with two fawns in a roadside field and a vocal buzzard circling low above the woods.

The kids break up next weekend and serious Dragon hunting will be at a premium after that, so hoping to get a big day out sometime next week to get a few new species before the shackles are put on :-(  

Fingers crossed . . .
   

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