|Slipper Tarn (Cragside NT Estate)|
An elevated acidic lake half way up the hillside trail from the main car park to the play area
|Black Darter (immature male)|
My first photographic record of this stage of development so a good result after four years of visits here
|Black Darter Immature male|
Colouring similar to female but abdomen noticeably waisted and
black side-markings a wavy pattern rather than straight-edged (see below)
|mature female found away from the lake later in the day|
Striking similarity to the immature male but note the subtle differences in abdomen shape and patterns
A striking dragonfly in his prime, still lots of bright yellow on show
|This would have been a cracking picture but for the single strand of grass waving around which|
just got in front of his head as I snapped him, hence the vertical line of blurring
|This feller is quite a mature individual, his yellow markings dulling down somewhat|
|Many Emerald damsels at the Tarn|
This one a male
|Mating and ovipositing pairs too|
|This male was the only Large Red damsel I saw today|
Other sightings of interest were a Giant Wood Wasp by the play area, though it didn't perch long enough for a photo (still haven't got one of those photographed despite seeing many) and just as we came out of the slow traffic past the A1 roadworks near Stannington, a hovering Kestrel caught my eye, but I wasn't expecting what happened next as it was attacked by a Peregrine as we approached! The kestrel neatly side-stepped the attack, then fled into the nearest trees, leaving the disappointed Peregrine to posture aerobatically for a moment then slowly glide off, great moment seen well thanks to the roadworks (never thought I'd say that).
Back in the valley, another disappointing visit to Thornley Woods Pond earlier in the week resulted in two Common Darters, a dozen or so large red damsels but once again not a hawker to be seen. Early afternoon in good sunshine so no excuse.
|Large red damsel male at TWP|
One of maybe 8 singles, plus 3 tandem pairs
The only hawker I did find that day was a female Southern at the top of Far Pasture bank, possibly the same one I photographed there last week, but foraging today she didn't perch up anywhere, though I was treated to a close-up of a kill as she snatched a flying queen ant (swarms of them today) from the air right in front of my face.
A few Common Darters by the fence along the access road but still no Ruddys, and once again no damsels here.
|Cougar on the prowl ?|
This over-mature female common darter (bottom, told by the redness of the abdomen) seems to be
stalking the immature male (top).
Star of that particular day though was a cracking Stoat running across the path in front of me. Brief, but as always, a wow moment.