Recently I’ve noticed a little despair brought on by the recent storms, probably a nod to ‘here we go again’ after what has been a dreadful summer weather-wise. Would it put an end to the season – or at least to worthy days spent in the field? It certainly prevented me from venturing out most days last week, but I remained positive knowing that the sun would shine again before the onset of frost.
And so it was on a fine Thursday I headed down to the pond. The heavy rainfall has refilled the pond levels nicely, although the downside is the wet backside which can only come with sitting on saturated ground.
The cast list today was more or less decided within half-an-hour. At least 4 Southern Hawkers, 3 or 4 Migrant Hawkers and a brief appearance from a Common Hawker – all males and at one point all in attendance at the same time, which made for some pretty spectacular 3-way dogfights.
The most approachable Southern frustratingly chose a path at odds with the sun.
I persevered and managed to catch him on the turn around
The Common Hawker wasn’t playing ball today, choosing a path that was at once swift and unpredictable. Just when I thought I had him in my sights, in would come the Southern to whisk him off into battle.
Black and Common Darters were still present in reasonable numbers, with the latter represented by several pairs in tandem as well as singles. I did wonder about the damsels, but needn’t have worried as I saw both Common Blue and Emerald still in attendance.
I returned to the pond with Sue on a pleasant Saturday, although not quite as pleasant as the forecast would have you believe! At least our arrival at just after 11.30am was just in time to catch the Southern Hawkers warming up.
In the meantime Common Darters were flying solo and in tandem while Black Darters were warming up on the island. Among the thicket and gradually rising over the pond were another couple of Southerns and a couple of Migrants. At 12.00pm sharp the male Common Hawker appeared for the first time., weaving a path in and out of the island grasses possibly searching for signs of the female?
At 1.20pm we saw the female Common Hawker arrive at the southern channel, only to be grabbed by the male. My excitement at a possible paired opportunity was thwarted by the Southern breaking them apart before they had a chance to complete the wheel.
I never thought I’d ever be annoyed by a Southern Hawker!
After dropping out of sight among the island grasses, she waited until the coast was clear before rising and flying off northwards. She reappeared at 2.00pm for an ovipositing opportunity.
Today was the first time Sue had seen the female, and for the second and last time today we had a chance to observe her before that pesky Southern came in and drove her away again.
There were still reasonable numbers of Black Darters rising up from the island at the hawker’s passing, and later on a few Emeralds showed themselves, the only damsels we saw today.
By 2.30pm the sun proved more elusive, and we waited for another break in the cloud before the day cooled and all life, except the dominant Southern Hawker, diminished.