Saturday, 23 May 2015

Nothing New Under the Sun

Got to Gibside earlier than I thought with a trip up there today in glorious spring sunshine. The idea of the trip was for the kids to play on the adventure playpark for a couple of hours, but me and Sprog1 took a detour to a couple of ponds first to check out the dragon situation.

The Walled Garden Pond held nothing at all so we quickly moved on to the Lily Pond, where a similar lack of dragons looked to be the case. No excuses as the sun was beating down and hardly a breeze, if they were there, they'd be out.

Lo and behold, a damsel eventually showed, just away from the pond as tends to be the case with immatures. I tracked down a few more, but like at Far Pasture they were all Azures, and in small numbers too.

First Azure spotted at Gibside - immature male

A female next, didn't realise 'til I saw the photo she was
munching on something

Another male, one of about ten.
Just a few snaps as none were really in decent view, then we re-joined the rest of the family at the playpark and had a cooling ice cream after our slog from one end of the estate to the other.

Some late Dragonfly News from today :

Kibblesworth Brickworks Pools held the first 4-Spotted Chaser and Common Blue damselfly (both immature females) courtesy of Rob Stonehouse (photographs on Gatesheadandbeyond)

Other stuff

Quite a few toadpoles in the Lily Pond and three newts also seen, one sporting the large paddle feet typical of a Palmate.

Dark tadpoles usually belong to toads, frogs are
paler and spotted

Close-up shows definitely a toad pole
Just a handful of butterflies around, mainly orange-tips but also a couple of speckled wood :

Speckled Wood

Earlier at home I evicted a spider from the house and as it regained its composure on the side fence I got a super macro shot of it, a scary beast :

That's close enough thanks
And a bit of skywatching gave 4+ red kites, 2 buzzards and a kestrel.

Hunting kestrel, eventually mobbed by house martins

The local House martins seem to be back with plenty of airborne action above the garden, and an established nest being visited over the back. I forgot how good their predator warnings are, the little farting noises being suddenly replaced by shrill ringtones means it's always worth looking up, usually a sparrowhawk is about, today it was the kestrel.

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