Saturday, 23 May 2009

Saturday 23rd.May 2009

If it was to be believed , today's forecast was sunny morning , clouding over by lunch time .
In that sun , I set off early to make the first of three visits this morning , that being to the farm lake , to see if I could get the Mandarin family , just out of bed . I'm afraid to say that I didn't find them again , but just being in 'paradise' on such a morning was great . The warmth of the sun , the birdsong the views , perfect . The temperature rise over the last few days has really brought on the emergence of Damsel/Dragonflies . Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies were very active , but the majority of the action was the Common Blue Damselfly , doing what they put here for , reproducing . I also saw several newly emerged Black Tailed Skimmers , but didn't manage to get a decent shot . I did manage to chase down a passing Painted Lady , that came to rest in the grass . 3 Common Blues were recorded including the first female found here this year , nectaring on Ragged Robin . On the water , one of the Little Grebe presented an opportunity to show just how 'little' it is , when it paddled past two juvenile Coots , preening on a mat of reeds .
From the farm lake , I stopped in at Spring Park Pond . Those Broad Bodied Chaser males , that I posted a few days ago just 'blueing up' , are now fully 'blued' , and , fully charged with testosterone , as three of them were fueding over territories around the small pond , every now and again , taking five , before starting again . I could see that no females had arrived at the pond yet , because thier powder blue abdomens were pristine . When this species mates , it is done in the air , and the female holds on with her legs around the male's abdomen . After a few matings , a darker line appears where the female's legs brush off some of the blue colouring . Azure and Large Red Damselflies were recorded as well . On a patch of Brambles , in a sheltered corner , I did find a female , but feeding up ready for mating is her priority at this time . Butterflies recorded included this tiny Small Copper , and several male Common Blues , scrapping over territorial rights , and refuelling , when they got a chance . Orange Tip , Large White , Green Veined White , Brown Argus and Small White were also recorded .
Having been so lucky with the Small Blues at Fackenden , I then went back to Hutchinson's Bank for another try to find them there . Once again I failed to find them , if they are still there , but did record 10 species , as the sun became a bit milky . They included Peacock , Brimstone , Small Heath , Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper as well a species already recorded elsewhere . A couple of plants found of interest included Woodruff , a member of the Bedstraw family , with a flower very much like Squinancywort . The Wild Strawberries are beginning to ripen , and I found a perfect specimen of Dog Rose . Up at the top of the bank , I sadly found a dead Slow Worm , that had puncture wounds on it , probably a Fox . Speaking of which , I found one dozing in the long grass , but he was off in a shot , not like the Goats that were right at the far end of the Reserve , and followed me all the way back to the middle gate . Heading down to have one more look at the chalk scrapes for the Small Blues , I spotted a Roe Deer in the far corner , or should I say , we both saw each other . I tried to close the gap and he headed of cover . I close a bit further , then sat and waited . After a while , he re-appeared on the fenceline at the bottom of the bank . Nervously , he made his way towards the kissing gate , just below where I was sitting in the long grass . When he got there he even had a look to see if he could get out there . He carried on to my left , and when I was well out of his sightline , I made my way down the bank , to another bush , nearer the fence line . As I got to the bush , I heard a shout from the top of the bank , a man with a child , then another shout 'No' , and with that a Rotweiler came out of the bushes , headed straight for the Roe Deer . The dog had no chance of catching it , it turned tail , and flew along the fenceline , right past me . This is the only shot I managed as it fled , with afterburners full on . The chap then saw me , with the camera , raised his hand , and called 'sorry mate' , some consolation . I shall never know if the Deer would have come back my way , but if he had , well the shots don't bear thinking about . No Small Blues were found , and I started back to the car . On the Bridleway , at some distance I saw a shape , with binoculars , I could see it was another Fox , and something else was moving as well . Near top middle of the shot was the other thing , a Magpie , giving the Fox some jip . I carried on towards them , and saw the Magpie fly off , but the Fox Remained . I closed the distance between us again , but by now , the Fox had seen me coming , and stood up facing me . I took another shot , the play back showed on the screen , and when the camera went live again , there was nothing in the viewfinder , he had disappeared into the vegetation . By now , the cloud cover was ever thickening , butterflies were looking for places to shelter , and I set off for home , well happy with my few hours in the sunshine .


Warren Baker said...

Yep, sunshine at last greenie! Fascinating about the 'blue' being rubbed off the Chasers body!

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Apart from the Numpty with the dog, you didn't have a bad day. It is a shame thet the Deer as spooked.I would like to have seen the picturs you could have taken. Still hopefully next time.

ShySongbird said...

Another very interesting and informative post Greenie with lovely photos and like Warren I found the Blue Bodied Chaser information really fascinating.

I thought the Dog Rose photo was lovely, another childhood delight, also nice photos of the Deer despite the 'dog problem'.

Steve said...

Really interesting post Fred....nice to have the sun out eh/!