Sunday, 20 November 2016

Review - July 2016

July began in much the same way June had ended, with more Southern Hawker emergence at Thornley Woods Pond on the 2nd, this time I recorded 7 individuals including one which was emerging right next to the boardwalk presenting a fantastic photo opportunity.

Southern Hawker emerging, a wondrous sight. 

Thought I was doing well to get this close . . .
until I saw the next one.

Couldn't believe it, right next to the boardwalk

How close do you want to get?

as you can imagine, that little session was one of the highlights of the season,
only downside was I didn't have enough time to spend and watch the whole process :-(

More were noted through the week making a total upward of 30 hawkers this year, a really good count considering the lack of action here the last couple of years.
On the 10th a delayed trip to Gibside thanks to the hitty-miss weather again, the target this time being Emerald Damselfly; the Lily Pond is always a great place to catch emergence early July, and though I have yet to find one actually emerging, the long grasses around the pond plays host to many an immature or teneral individual. And so proved to be the case again, giving some cracking photo-opportunities from a species which tends to be less nervy than other damsels, and will usually put up with the intrusion of a close camera.

Immature female Emerald Damsel

A male posing nicely for a photo

female - front end

female - rear end

female - front, rear, and middle :-)

Biggest disappointment of the month was my trip to Kibblesworth for Black-tailed Skimmer. I didn't get there last year due to the weather, and this year was looking bad for the same reason. I chose to go on Wednesday 13th as a mix of cloud and sunny intervals was about the best I could hope for in the week before the schools broke-up.
In the event I wish I hadn't bothered. Two twenty-minute periods of sunshine either side of an hour of cloud and then rain, was all I got for Dragonhunting. No Black-tailed Skimmers (third year running I've missed out). A couple of Emperors were nice to see but never close enough to photograph, indeed  I didn't get any photographs on the day worth posting. Lamesley road bridge also drew a blank for Banded Demoiselles, despite up to 20 having been sighted in the area just recently. All in all a miserable day.

Random shot of rufescens form Blue-tailed damsel female, taken on another
less than successful sortie along the valley on the 6th.
Random shot of a Large Red damsel at Thornley Woods Pond, just liked the pose :-/

A hot and sunny 19th improved my mood, though the day started badly when once again Banded Demoiselles were conspicuous by their absence at HaggHill, but later at Lockhaugh meadows two females provided good entertainment and some lovely photos. Shame there were no males to be seen this year but it's been such a bad year for them I was more than happy with those two.

Female Demoiselle on the Derwent awaits her lunch.
Sometimes a shot of the subject in their environment tells  the viewer much more than a close-up  

The wait is over, a meal is despatched 

Just couldn't get a killer shot, there was always a strand of something in the way 

But close-ups are nice for showing the subject in all its glory, just look at that polished sheen

And that I'm afraid was my lot for the month of July. School holidays, mixed weather and life in general meant it just wasn't going to be easy this year.

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