In the event it was a stroke of genius. I first watched a Common Tern at close quarters fishing the river until it was successful with a good catch and carried it off probably to Shibdon Pond, then discovered a small colony of Sand Martins in the riverbank which I've never noted before, will have to revisit when I have more time, they were certainly busy today.
|part of a newly founded sand martin colony on the derwent|
|token warbling wren shot|
Just upstream I reached the Banded Demoiselle site and straightaway spotted a female traversing the river, then a male doing likewise. Gettin! Then a surprise as a male fluttered past my head carrying a large prey item, and landed on the side of the path to devour his meal. I had to stand guard as four cyclists rode past but was then able to watch from point blank range as he struggled with his sizeable meal.
|What's that you're eating?|
|Still can't tell|
|Ah, a mayfly, plenty of meat on those.|
Another dragonfly enthusiast (and member of the Twitter brotherhood) turned up shortly afterwards and together we watched several males and females coming and going in glorious sunshine. I snapped away from up on high and have to be happy with the shots from the distance, in previous years I wouldn't have even attempted photos with the old point and press.
|Male banded demoiselle - metallic blue and green, beautiful Prussian blue wingspot|
|female banded demoiselle - metallic green and green-tinged wings|
|another male posing nicely|
|what a beaut|
|one of nature's finest|
|occasionally they flick their wings open and I|
managed to catch it doing so.
|lots of perching in good view today I reckon 6-8 males, 4-5 females, maybe more.|
|Another Mayfly taking a hammering, this time from a female|
|Male and female together, a good comparison despite the technical let-down|
|Female looking like she's hanging on for dear life|
|Probably the easiest one to focus without all the clutter|
|Extremely long legs compared to most other damselflies,|
and once again I did actually see one walking along a broad leaf
|Finally the latest addition to my 'dragonflies having a poo' list|
I had my fill there and (never satisfied) decided to have a quick look at Clockburn Lake outlet stream in the off chance a demoiselle might be perched by the river for a closer photo opportunity. Unfortunately it wasn't the case, but many azures, a few large reds and surprisingly few blue-tails were on show, but with my time running out (had to get back for school run) I didn't bother getting the camera out, just watched a few of the damsels close-up with the papilios.
Great impromptu session though, stunning is an often overused word these days but the demoiselles truly are worthy of the description, absolutely stunning creatures. Days like this make you glad to be alive. Roll on the next session :-)