Monday, 15 August 2016

Black and Tarn Un-Illustrated

Enjoying a bit of digital detox since the laptop 'incident', but still need to keep notes of my dragon sightings, and as this blog is effectively my notebook, I'll persevere with the iPad without photos even though I struggle with the tiny screen and pop-up keyboard.

A look at Far Pasture on Saturday at last gave few darters, though 6 commons (all roadside) is not a good count for this time of year. The main pond had only 3 common blue and 1 emerald damsels. The Forbidden Pond was again devoid of all life forms, it's a bloody shame what they've done to it :-(
A bonus was spotting a tiring Southern Hawker male at the top of the access road which eventually settled and posed nicely for photos, and the first time Sprog1 has been able to study one with the Papilios, he was most impressed :-)
A second hawker at the same spot remained unidentified.

On a better note, today was our annual visit to Cragside, for Black Darters at the Slipper Tarn. A week or two later than I would have liked as too late now to catch the emergence which usually takes place late July and early August.
As ever, a family snack-stop as we climbed the hillside path to the play area, while I searched for dragonflies to photograph. There weren't actually a lot of Black Darters on show compared with previous visits, the undoubted stars being the hawkers, maybe half a dozen Moorland (common) and a couple of Southern males in constant search and skirmish mode in the heat of the early afternoon. a scattering of Emeralds the only damsels on show.
Also met a very nice bloke, photographer and fellow blogger Chris, who kindly put up with the intrusion of the kids and showed us a toad he'd found in the freshly strimmed grass. He managed some cracking flight shots of the male hawkers (something my XS1sadly isn't too good at) and latterly put us on to a female Moorland Hawker which had alighted in a thicker patch of the remaining tarnside vegetation, which posed lengthily for photos. Such an opportunity for that particular species doesn't come around too often for yours truly, so thanks a lot for that Chris, much appreciated.

In the cooler late afternoon on our way back down to the car park we looked in again. If anything there were even more hawkers now including a female Southern, but Black Darters were still thin on the ground, though I photographed both a male and female on one of the benches still bathed in strong sunlight.

I'll upload my photos when able, meantime keep an eye on the blog of my newfound acquaintance Trogtrogblog (linked on the right) for his photos of the day and much more, well worth checking out.

Day's totals :

Moorland Hawkers : 6-7 m 2 f
Southern  Hawkers :  2-3 m 1 f
Black Darters.        :   c8 m 2 f
Common Darters   :   3 m
Emerald damsels.  :   16+ m 4+ f

Another great session at Slipper Tarn, always worth a visit for Black Darter :-)


  1. Sounds like a better dragon day than I've had yet this year. Kibblesworth was eerily quiet a couple of weeks back.

    1. Slipper Tarn at Cragside is always worth a visit for the Black Darters and Moorland Hawkers, I could spend all day there if I was on me tod. Otherwise I agree, it's been another poor summer so far locally, though in truth I haven't been getting out much meself.