Monday, 30 May 2011

Monday 30th. May 2011

A quick look on the Common this morning confirmed my suspicion of yesterday , the Great Spotted Woodpeckers have fledged . I waited for about 15 minutes , but nothing was seen or heard , the only calls I heard were some 300 mtrs. away from the nest site .
South Norwood Country Park was my next stop , and at the feeding platform , the Canada Geese had brought their two youngsters for an easy meal . Another pair had three larger youngsters , but these two looked as if they had only just broken their way out of the eggs . The only other youngsters seen on the lake were Coots . I headed off to see what was happening at the Kestrel box , and got there just as the female was leaving . I set up hoping that either parent would return with food , but neither did . At least one youngster was seen in the box , still a bit downy , but the feathers are pushing through . Whilst waiting to see if I would be lucky , I was serenaded constantly by a Common Whitethroat , whilst down at the far end of the lake , a Grey Heron stood sentry . And it wasn't only the birds that were showing off their young . Wherever there is water and food , then there are usually Brown Rats/Rattus norvegicus , and they seem to have had a good breeding season too , with several youngsters darting out from cover to snatch the bread .
On the way home , I made a stop at the Farm lake , just as the cloud was starting to build . Numbers of Odonata are still relatively low , but newly emerged specimens of several species were found lifting off and making their first flights into the surrounding trees . I did however find my first female Emperor Dragonfly , and she was already laying her eggs , inserting each one individually into floating vegetation around the edge of the lake , where the warm water will give a better chance of the eggs hatching . Some of the other species , like this pair of Azure Damselflies in the 'ring' or 'wheel' , are not as far forward . A very strange set up the Dragon/Damselfly mating routine . Unlike most insects that mate joining at the end of their abdomens , these insects have their own unique way of doing things . As the male has grabbed the female behind the head , the end to end abdomen join can't work . So , before grabbing the female , the male places a sperm sack , which is produced in his primary genitalia at the end of his abdomen , into his secondary genitalia , which is found below the second segment of his abdomen . Now , having grabbed his female , in tandem , he encourages her to reach up with her abdomen to take the sperm sack from his secondary genitalia , which is what is happening when they are in the 'wheel' or 'ring' . On the beach where I found the Black-tailed Skimmer larvae on a previous visit , several males , having now 'blued up' on the abdomen , and also got their black tails too , like the one above . A couple of plants found around the lake included Bog Cotton / Eriophorum angustifolium , and the first of several Pyramidal Orchids , which once again seems earlier than usual . Two days working up on the Greensand Ridge awaits .


Warren Baker said...

I like that rat photo Greenie, probably because I like rats :-)

I saw my first Emperor Dragon today, but forgot to mention it on my blog!

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos again Greenie, I especially like the damsels in the 'ring'. Love the Heron too, one of my favourite birds.

Very interesting about the dragonfly placing the eggs where the warm water will aid successful hatching, I didn't know about that!

After all the excitement with the GSWs it looks like you have Kestrel interest to keep your eye on now.

Nice to see the Rats, not often they feature on blogs.

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
I agree wirh Warren. I too like the photo of the rats, probably because it's not something you see every day.
Nice to know that the Emperor's are now out and about, better keep my eyes open.

Paul said...

Hi Greenie, whilst Ive been off line for a few days, its always good to catch up with your blogs mate. As usual you have a good mixture of pics too. I followed your GS Woodpecker activity, and was lucky enough to find my own GS Woodpecker nest site just recently.

ShySongbird said...

Hi again Greenie, I just wondered if you saw Springwatch last night with the 'snake' lady, she had incredible knowledge which reminded me of you. After looking at the records she has kept Chris Packham likened the importance of her research to that of Darwin!! It was a great programme which I suspect you saw but if you missed it I urge you to watch it on BBC iplayer.