Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Seven Up

The second part of my adventure in the sunshine yesterday took me to Far Pasture, and first thing I noticed (difficult to miss it really) was this Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar crossing the road, what a size!





Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar, my second one this year,
what a monster :-O
I picked it off the road, not wanting to see it squashed by a passing motorist (though judging by the size of it there might have been more damage to the car) and placed it on a fencepost where I took the snaps.

And where I left it
A canny start and with a few flighty darters by the roadside it was looking like a good session in prospect.
The roadside ditch had a couple of Migrant Hawkers close by and a male southern, but otherwise not much to report. More migrant hawkers as I made way to the hide, and on the pond itself, quiet at first but a few common darters in the vegetation under the window with a couple of pairs ovipositing in the shallows, a few emerald damsels, some in tandem and then I spotted a ruddy darter on a broken stem under the window so snapped away.

Yet another Ruddy Darter, been very good for them
at Far Pasture this year 

Performed a bit of sky-pointing
Pleased to find another ruddy, but then the hawkers started to come in, eventually at least five or six migrants, with 4 males skirmishing in one melee and then a tandem pair crossed the pond towards a reedbed. A very good count here though sadly none of them would perch for photos.

The Forbidden Pond was again very poor, a couple of tandem pairs and single common darters, plus an unidentified hawker which whizzed through.
On the way back up the road again, probably four migrant hawkers hawked the top field, so I reckon there was easily a double-figure count of the species here today, very good after relatively poor years of late.

Trekking back through the woods another insect on the ground caught my eye in the form of a large, fat beetle scurrying across my path. I quickly got off a few shots before it disappeared into the undergrowth though a moving subject does not make for decent photos.


Just make out the 'splayed' antennae, a clue
to its identity 

Quite a fast runner

And a lovely blue tinge to the shell of the beetle

I reckon it to be a Dor Beetle Geotrupes stercorarius, a type of dung beetle, quite common but not easy to catch in the daytime.

A quick countback  and I make that 7 species of Odonata seen at both sites today, 2 hawkers, 2 darters and 3 damsels. Not bad for early September.
And later in the day I received an email from Shibdon George, telling me there are plenty of Migrant Hawkers around the boardwalk of Shibdon Pond also, so somewhere else to visit in the coming days.
Cheers.
   

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