Thornley Woods Pond this time was devoid of dragons. A thorough search of the margins bore no fruit, and to be honest it's not looking too healthy these days. There's a tree now growing in the middle of the pond, and the emergent grasses are spreading rapidly, reducing the open water by at least a third now.
The water itself was clear but tinged brown, like a cup of tea without milk. The bottom of the pond is obscured with decaying leaves and a thick bed of unhealthy-looking underwater vegetation seems to be strangling the life out of it.
There wasn't much life in there at all so it was a relief when I spied a pair of newts, the male seemed to be displaying to the female.
On to Far Pasture and a bright and breezy day didn't offer any signs of dragons either. I searched the roadside vegetation all the way along to the car park. Nothing doing, but a few butterflies around so I decided to test out the macro, just on auto to see how it fared in a panic situation when I don't have time to play about with the settings :
|A pair of St. Marks flies (one of many)|
doing what they always seem to do
|There's an orange-tip male on this photo, beautifully disguised|
|Here he is closer up|
|Wingtips seemed to glow as he opened his wings ever so slightly|
After a quick visit to the pond I decided to call it a day and ambled back up the road to the gate (where I usually do a bit of sky-watching to see what flies in or past), but my attention was grabbed by a long-winged fluttering insect catching the sun as it danced past me, either a lacewing or a damsel I thought, and followed it back along the road hoping it would land in sight, which it duly did, just off the road at the base of the fence.
When close enough I could see it was a damselfly (yippee!), but what type I didn't know. I quickly took a record shot (in panic mode in case it flew off).
|First damsel of the year, record shot|
Can you tell what it is yet?
I then managed to get a bit closer and reeled off a few shots, though just couldn't get the right angle as it was facing away from me but stretched round and hoped the focus was good.
|That's right, an azure damselfly, a teneral female to be exact.|
|Just couldn't get a good angle to shoot from|
It flew up again as I got too close but landed nearby. It was alert now and as I approached it again it went up and over the fence and beyond the hawthorn saplings. Gone for good this time.
|She's showing the markings of a typica green-form when she matures.|
Blue-forms tend to have gaps of colour between the black dorsal segments.
Gettin though, first of the year. I hung around by the gate for half an hour hoping to catch another on a maiden flight but nothing doing I'm afraid. Never mind, we're up and running:-)
On the way up the road I snapped the beginnings of a bluebell patch :
And back at home I had a visit from the this feller :
|Always nice to see a tree Sparrow in the garden|
And this feller was guarding the nest under the eaves of next-doors house, a regular nesting spot.
|Don't know if its the same birds year after year but this |
corner has been used by starlings as far back as I can remember
Can't wait to get out again and look for more damsels, but probably won't be 'til after the weekend now.