Thursday, 15 September 2016

Better Late than Never

Had an interesting Photograph sent to me today by Mr Shibdon himself (George Simpson) which on opening I thought was nothing unusual, just a female Common Darter; but then it dawned on me it was a teneral, meaning it had actually just emerged today!

Teneral female Common Darter at Shibdon Pond today
Hope the mild weather lasts a while longer for her
G.Simpson
I don't even have a record of an emerging Common Darter beyond August, though do see a few immatures late on, but lately the only females seen have been well into their prime, often showing the reddish abdomen of beyond maturity. So an excellent late record, well spotted George.

If that one was better late than never, it seems the elusive Ruddy Darter is unfortunately going to be just never. Another visit to Far Pasture on Tuesday gave me Common (1m) Southern (1m) and Migrant (4or5m) Hawkers, and a few Common Darters in tandem and ovipositing on the main pond, there was still no Ruddy to be seen.

A number of tandem pairs around but still not as many as I'd expect
on a sunny mid-September day after such a mild period. 

Best action was this wasp v caterpillar tussle which was really a 'no contest'

The wasp wasn't able to take-off with such a bulky item so constantly chewed away (nice!)

It all got a bit gory for me as the half caterpillar still appeared to be moving, no idea of the species :-/

My favourite pic of the day though was this Darter which appears to be firing lasers from its wing

I may yet have another try but it's looking like this will be the first time in a decade I haven't recorded a Sympetrum Sanguinium at Far Pasture Ponds. They've been becoming more and more of a rarity the last few years, with four in 2014 bucking the trend of just 1 or 2 since 2011, but a failure to record any is just another symptom of the falling numbers of all species here. Not good when it's my local patch :-(

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