Needles & Haystacks

Saturday 8th June

I often blame the BBC weather forecast for promising sun when the reality is gloom. On Saturday I blamed them for promising rain & thunder, but at the last minute this changed to a fine afternoon! I know this isn’t a revelation, but I was really looking forward to a rest.

As it was our plans changed with the forecast and we headed out to Badminston in the hope of reconnecting with those Red-veined Darters. Arriving at midday we bumped into Paul Winter, who had already connected with the RVD at another small pool a short distance away.

The male returned on a couple of occasions and proved difficult to pin down, although finally allowed a distant perched shot.

Red-veined Darter - male
Red-veined Darter – male

We did have one visit another pool briefly without stopping and a site search failed to produce any more over the course of the next 5 hours. To be honest it was very much needle-in-a-haystack, the best option being staying put at a chosen pool and waiting in hope.

Black-tailed Skimmer - immature male
Black-tailed Skimmer – immature male

At least a walk produced a little more variety.

Sunday 9th June

As it was still the weekend I returned reasonably early the following morning expecting to find a few twitchers, but during my two hour stay only noticed one individual who seemed reluctant to jump the fence.

Suffice to say I had no further sightings and quite honestly was getting very bored indeed, having only a Black-tailed Skimmer occasionally come in to patrol before disappearing.

Black-tailed Skimmer -  male
Black-tailed Skimmer – male

On the way out I amused myself with a male Emperor who was patrolling a wide section of one of the channels.

Emperor - male
Emperor – male

Barely a few metres away another was claiming his patch.

Emperor - male
Emperor – male

While I was busy wasting my time further east I received a call from my good friend Doug who was having a whale of a time at Burley, so I fought the grockles on the drive over to join him for an hour or so.

Burbush Pond

This pond was more like it – a good showing of Emperor, Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer and Downy Emerald across the water while in the foliage I connected with (Common) Emerald Damselflies for the first time this season, several teneral male and female decorating the heather bank.

Emerald Damselfly  - teneral male
Emerald Damselfly – teneral male

Doug was still obsessed with the Downy, eager to get some decent shots along with some video footage, knowing full well that he’d need a lot of luck and a smattering of skilled stealth to get anywhere near with a tripod.

While we were taking a refreshment break, his quarry set down in the heather less than a couple of metres in front of him. If that isn’t an invitation I don’t know what is. Once Doug finally achieved his goals I grabbed a couple of shots for myself, as this male looked superb with the sun falling directly on his reflective brilliance.

Downy Emerald - male
Downy Emerald – male

On a couple of occasions a female Emperor came in to oviposit.

Emperor - female ovipositing
Emperor – female ovipositing

It was both relaxing and productive to catch up briefly with Doug doing what we both enjoy without expending unnecessary energy and we both could have stayed there all afternoon, but alas we both had to finish early in the spirit of domestic harmony.

I just wish I’d thought of it sooner 🙂