Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My big day out to Kibblesworth proved a bit of a mixed bag in the end. Three buses and a long walk took about an hour and a quarter from leaving the house. A bit of good fortune though at Gateshead Interchange when I spotted this fine looking moth :

Turned out it's a female Ghost Swift Moth, a new one for me :-)

On to Kibblesworth and I was hoping to get a new record species count for the year (previous best of 8 from Gibside), and get a record shot of each species seen, and connect with Black-tailed Skimmer and Emperor which would both be new for the year.

The Good : I've never seen so many Emperors; I counted 5-6 males and 3 females, and watching them was a treat. One male in particular hovered for long periods close by giving cracking views, and there was much chasing and skirmishing, a copulating pair and a couple of females ovipositing.
Other highlights were a dogfight between a male Emp and a Common Hawker (no prizes for guessing which one got chased off) and another male captured a butterfly but was chased across the pond by a rival, eventually dumping his load (a tortoiseshell) on the pond to avoid a kicking and sped off.  

The Bad : No sign of any Black-tailed Skimmers despite spending over three hours on site, very disappointing as I doubt I'll get another chance this year.
Also a very disappointing species count:
Apart from the Emperors and Common Hawker, the only other Dragonflies on show were Common Darters (50+) and Four-Spotted Chasers (c20). I did think I had a copulating pair of Ruddy Darters but the elongated frons and black legs (in the viewfinder) turned out to be shadow and blur in real life :-(
I didn't realise until later that I hadn't recorded a large red damsel, so the damselfly count was also a measly four, mainly azure and emeralds, with lesser numbers of common blue and just a few blue-tailed, giving a total of 8 species in all, no better than my Gibside count.

And The Ugly: A dozy cow with five dogs off the leash, allowing them to rampage through the margins of the pond where there were a lot of emerging dragons and damsels today, then chase a gaggle of six greylags from their resting place in the long grass onto the pond, then two of them charged into the pond making the geese fly up again and chased them along the shore and away 'til they gained height and flew over the trees out of harm's way. The dozy mare just sat there playing with her phone, and not even a chastening word. I can honestly say I fucking (sorry) hate her and her type who you see all too often in wildlife areas.

Also ugly are my photographs of the day. I did manage shots of every species I saw but very few are remotely in focus or decent enough to show, but here are the 'best' of them :

Azure damsel male, plenty of these on show

Copulating Blue-tailed damsels
Female of the infuscans-obsoleta form.

A rufescens form female blue-tailed

Four-spotted Chasers weren't easy to pin down.

This one kept me busy for a while also

Token Emperor shot, great time watching these today.

And an arty one to finish. Tandem
Emerald damselflies in the sunshine

The Birtley Bishop also turned up later on, but I was unsure of which category to put him in ;-)

School hols on the horizon, we're away to the lakes next week where I've got sites mapped out for Beautiful Demoiselle, Keeled Skimmer and Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Whether I'll get the chance to see them though is another matter. Adios.



  1. The whole thing with the "bitch" and her dogs sounds as ugly as your images (sorry) Alan. I'm at the state now where i detest the sight of dogwankers (oops typo) I'm afraid most of our wildlife sites are mainly for dogwankers and fly tippers. A sad state of affairs.
    Bet you're looking forward to the next six weeks :-o

  2. Aye John, why they put the school hols at peak dragonfly time I'll never know :-(
    The ignoramus is also ignorant to the fact that by encouraging her mutts to go in the pond she's possibly risking their health as well.
    And yes my photos are such poor quality I'm getting a tad pee'd off, feel like kicking my Kodak into a pond as well; the old saying that it's better than nothing is only marginally correct :-(