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 .