Saturday, 5 September 2015

All's Well that Ends (and begins) Well . . .

The day began well yesterday, as I was putting the kids' lunches up early morning there was a mixed flock of tits working through the back garden, mainly consisting of juveniles of great, blue and coal tits. Then I spotted a bright young Willow Warbler in amongst them and finally a cracking juv. Blackcap. 

Later I needed to go to Swalwell B&Q so (taking my bins and camera) my better half dropped me off near Shibdon Pond where I had a stroll around the back to look for perching Migrant Hawkers. In the atmospheric gloom it was always going to be a long shot and so it proved with nowt to be seen.
A quick look in the hide gave 13 Black-wits, a Common Sand and a good count (strange phrase to use as I didn't actually count them) of Shoveler, then a walk along the river to B&Q gave not much else.

I couldn't even get what I wanted in B&Q but by the time I came out the sun was shining through the clouded skies. I hopped on the bus with the intention of going straight home but as the sun seemed to be getting stronger I decided to hop off again at Thornley Lane, nip down to Far Pasture for a quick search and could still walk home from there in time for school coming out.

Now I've lost count of the number of times I've tried for Ruddy Darter here during the latter half of the summer, and now autumn has arrived (technically I'm still waiting for spring) I'd all but given up hope of seeing one this year.
I walked as far as the Forbidden Gate with only half a dozen common darters to show for it, and accepting it just wasn't to be I began the slow walk back, still searching as I did so, 'til I spotted a nice red darter on the fence opposite the roadside ditch (the favoured habitat of the ruddy).

Even as I approached I wasn't sure due to reflecting sunlight, but reeled off a couple of distant record shots until Bingo! I positively ID'd a Ruddy Darter at long last.
He was a bit flighty at first but as usual with this species, once he was accustomed to my presence he allowed me to get shots from point blank range, and once flew up and landed on my forehead, which I obviously couldn't get a picture of :-/

Bingo! Ruddy Darter, a cracking male in his prime,
after weeks of trying :-)

Taking pictures into the sun isn't ideal but the rich colours of the Ruddy still show superbly
A cracking little dragonfly.

Tilted his head nicely for a profile portrait

Even a token poo shot.

'Sunburned' face and chestnut eyes, jet black legs

This my favourite shot of the day I think

Showing some fine detail in close-up

What a little beauty. I was well chuffed with myself as I didn't want to miss out a Ruddy this year, another of my favourite dragons (don't know how many favourites I can have) There weren't any others around but I was happy with that for now. So my day finished as well as it had started, and I still got home in time to pick up the kids from school :-)


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