Sunday, 27 July 2014

Ruddy Awful Photos

A mid-afternoon visit to Far Pasture on a hot and sunny Friday produced my second sighting of a Ruddy Darter there this year, this time a maturing male on the roadside ditch pool, which has been the most reliable area to see them over the last few years.
The intensity and direction of the sunshine made it difficult to get a near-decent photo, I got good enough views through my bins but every time he darted up from his perch (especially to have ago at a patrolling Southern Hawker) he always settled again facing away from me, so this is the best angle I could get him from :

Awful photo but this angle shows the waisted abdomen and black legs
of the ruddy darter

The Ruddy also buzzed a tandem pair of darters, golden tinted wings of the male suggested they may also have been Ruddys, and they disappeared low into the ditch out of sight probably to oviposit.

Two male Southern Hawkers were on patrol with the odd inevitable skirmish, and damsels were represented by a few emeralds, azure and blue-tailed.

A couple of gems - emeralds
On the main pond there were decent numbers of blue damsels but it was standing room only so I didn't stay long, and the Forbidden pond held nothing at all (and not that much water either), the open aspect here intensifies the heat, and the strong sunlight most likely sent everything running for the shade.
A couple of other colourful insects posed for the camera while I was waiting for dragons :

Helophilus trivittatus
A few of these colourful flies around the muddy ditch-pools which is
apparently prime breeding habitat. 

Don't know much about butterflies but
believe this is a Small Skipper.  
I had a return visit today but it was a bit gloomy this morning, and the roadside ditch is obviously going to be more productive in the afternoon due to the angle of the sun. Only a male southern hawker patrolled briefly this morning, though the kingfisher was showing well on the main pond.

The ringers also netted a juv kingfisher this morning, they reported loads of young blackcaps and chiffchaffs, the latter looks so tiny in hand it's amazing how far it flies each year on migration, and I learned how they told dull-plumaged willow/chaffs apart by counting the primary feather margination, so wasn't a wasted journey altogether :-)     

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