The forecast had been good for today all week, but with Sprog1 off school with a throat problem and possibly needing to go to hospital my plans had to be reviewed as I'd have to pick up the other sprogs from school.
Not to worry, family needs come first, and Plan B was a return visit to Gibside, getting back in time for pickup should Sprog1 get his appointment.
Alas, complications set in and by the time everything was sorted, Sprog1's appointment now postponed to Friday, it was already early afternoon, so my only real choice now was the short trek down to Far Pasture to hunt for Common Darter.
At least the sun got out properly by the time I got there, a scan of Pond3 from the coral-gate revealed a large hawker quartering the pond, all too brief for an ID, and though I was tempted to sneak in for a closer look as I could neither see nor hear the ponies, I thought better of it and left it unidentified.
The roadside ditch held a few azure and blue-tailed damsels, but no sign of any darters, though there's still a fair bit of water here so hopefully the ruddy darters will still appear before long.
A couple of Emeralds by the gate to the Forbidden Pond, the pond itself devoid of life, it's now the driest I've seen it, a mosaic of cracked earth, just needs some kind of horned animal skull placed on it to look like one of those stereotyped death valley images.
A look on the main pond brought a surprise in the shape of a Broad-bodied Chaser (male) only the second I've noted on here but didn't stay in view long. Damsels a-plenty, an assortment of blues but again no darters.
I snapped a lot of interesting mini-beasts (for a later date) but just about gave up on my target darters and began to make my way home, still scanning all around as I did so.
An amazing number of butterflies in the bull-field on the thistles, brambles and hogweed, mainly ringlets and meadow browns, but also large white, speckled wood, comma, small tort, red admiral and skippers.
And it was while I was watching these I stumbled across a Common Darter, an immature female, perched in decent view but well in to the field. Luckily I could rest on the fence to get a few shots at full zoom and they didn't turn out too bad, though the angle could have been better.
|Common Darter (female) - Far Pasture|
first sighting for 2015
|and the second sighting, not long after|
|And the best of the rest, plenty of blue-tails on show today|
Never mind, there's always next year :-/