The forcasted rain duly arrived mid morning , along with gusting wind , and is still falling heavily now , so needless to say , I didn't get out today .
As I mentioned yesterday , I made a visit to Spring Park Pond for a look around after lunch , as the high cloud started to roll in . It looked totally devoid of interest at first sight , but that changed when a male Southern Hawker came ' to give me the once over ' , as they often do . A second male soon appeared , and the usual aerial battle started . But I thought to myself , why are they fighting with the season almost over ? Walking around the pond , my question was answered , when a quivering movement and rustle of wings in the vegetation on the bank , revealed a female , depositing her eggs in dead and live vegetation . Having laid in one spot , she then took flight to search out another suitable site . At times , she even oviposited on the top of the bank , almost under my feet . Watching her at work , it was noticeable that all eggs were laid on the side of the pond that would be in the sun for the longest part of the day , to give them the best chance of hatching . The only other species of Odonata recorded , were four Common Darter males , like the one pictured , all in their mature state , with the wings becoming suffused rather than clear when they first emerge .
Looking around the pond , a life and death situation caught my eye , when a Common Wasp and a Garden Spider had a coming together in some shady vegetation , hence the not very good shots . I saw the Wasp fly into the web and start thrashing about , trying to escape , but getting more enmeshed in the web in doing so . The Spider approached the Wasp gingerly , and always from the head , keeping well away from the sting . Once thw Wasp's wings were subdued , the Spider rolled the Wasp round and round , producing and wrapping more and more silk around the now entrapped Wasp . The web might have been damaged , but a good sized meal was waiting . Leaving the Spider to it's meal , I spotted one of the male Southern Hawkers resting at about knee level on some Creeping Thistles . I had seen both at rest earlier , but high up in an Oak . Only other interest found was a Plume Moth , which insisted that this was the only position it would allow for a photograph .
And finally , at both the pond and at the grounds of Down House , there seemed to have been an explosion of Crane Flies , they seemed to be everywhere , just too late to stoke up those migrant birds with long journeys in front of them . Today , they have probably all drowned . And a shot of the seed heads of Yellow Flag Iris , split open to broadcast their seeds .
Hedgelaying down on the Surrey/Hampshire border tomorrow , hope the weather changes .
You can relax now Warren , not a Coot or Tufted Duck in sight !
6 hours ago