Saturday, 10 May 2014
HAIRY DRAGONS AND SHINY DAMSELS
I've managed to make a couple of short forays to New Hythe in the last week or so, mainly to catch up with the slowly emerging damsels and dragons. Yesterday, I finally managed to catch up with some Hairy dragonflies (above) who were more pre-occupied with other things to worry about me and the camera. I also watched a female ovipositing in the margins of Abbey Mead lake, but she was never settled long enough for a picture.
I was pleased to find a couple of male Banded Demoiselles too (above and below) on the Country Park side of the patch. They are mostly found in the vicinity of the millstream here, which fits in with their apparent preference for slow moving streams. Having said that, the very fast flowing Hampshire Avon usually holds a good population too. As does the River Medway.
Good numbers now of Large Red damselflies, usually the first species to emerge, but Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Azure were also seen in varying stages of maturity.
The Cardinal Beetles (this one a Red-headed) stand out like a sore thumb on the nettles. They are usually OK with a close approach but this one wasn't so keen, giving me a lucky take off shot below.
Both my recent visits have been disappointing butterfly wise, partly due to inclement weather I think. The only chance of a picture was when the Holly Blue above settled briefly to feed, although the strong wind didn't help to get a decent image. Still no Green Hairstreaks or Skippers though.
The New Hythe bird list for the year has predictably slowed now, House Martin and Swift have both been added recently and I expect more additions will be hard to find. Turtle Dove still hasn't made an appearance to the best of my knowledge, I only saw one very briefly last year and with their continued decline and persecution abroad, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it stays off the list this year. I hope i'm wrong though.
No Sedge Warblers either this year, although the Reed Warblers (above) seem to be holding on in decent numbers around the patch.
I bumped into Glenn last week and we spent a while on the mound waiting for a Hobby to make an appearance. Which it did. But the stars of the show were the Buzzards who drifted high over us in groups of up to four or five, it was difficult to be sure how many individuals we saw but I reckon at least ten. The picture above is obviously a load of c**p, quite literally in this case! Or maybe it was a member of the Buzzard Red Arrows.