Thursday, 22 July 2010

Thursday 22nd. July 2010

Had a look for Purple Hairstreaks this morning . At the Ash tree on Hayes Common , still no more than 10 sightings in a stiff breeze . Even worse at West Wickham Common , with only 4/5 sightings , in a breeze that was strengthening by the minute . I am convinced now that last Winter has taken it's toll on this species , as at this time last year , I was recording 35+ at the Ash tree site , and 15/20 on the other one .
With clouds rolling in on the wind , I went for a look around Spring Park pond , but found things very quiet , apart from a couple of Common Darters and a few Azure Damselflies . A few butterflies were found down in the grass , and whilst trying to photograph a Small Copper , which I never did manage because of the wind , a female Emperor Dragonfly landed , or probably was blown , onto the vegetation close by , and I could see that she was carrying something . She got blown round by the wind , and the prey that she was carrying , looked like a Honey Bee from the abdomen . Spinning round her perch , she made short work of the Bee , then spent some time resting or digesting her meal , before , once again , being blown off , to land even closer . With a bit of sun shining through , she moved to make the most of the warmth , providing a top view . She seemed to take no notice at all of my presence , and eventually I got the lens as close as it would focus , about a foot away from the labium , the extraordinary hinged , extending mechanism , which it uses to catch it's food . Shortly afterwards , she flew to land on some floating vegetation on the pond , before heading for the trees as the first spits of rain were felt .
I turned to return to the car , and was shocked to find that in the hour or so I had been at the pond , a group of travellers had set up camp behind the car park , containing my car , and I hadn't heard or seen a thing . Fortunately two Police cars were already in attendance , and my car was OK when I reached it .
By the time I got home , the much needed rain was lashing down , but now the sun is out again , sucking back up all that moisture .


Phil said...

A very nice set of Emperor shots Greenie. After finding PH's at New Hythe earlier in the month I haven't found any since.

Warren Baker said...

Interesting dragon pics Greenie.

As for PH's They are very much on the up on my patch ( well in the scrub anyway) At least 30 were on the wing earlier this week.

How politically correct of you to call the pikey scum travellers !

Dean said...

Great set of photos Greenie. Really struggling for large Dragons up here, this summer.

ShySongbird said...

Amazing detail on the Emperor photos, Greenie. I knew they ate butterflies, moths etc but had not realised they would take bees, really fascinating as always.

Travellers repeatedly moved onto land where we used to walk and always left a huge mess behind. The area has now been secured by the landowner so they can't use it... and neither can innocent walkers!