03 June, 2011

Red Army

Looks like someone was paying attention to all my moaning about the weather! :) Two days of blazing sunshine have seen me off odonata-chasing, with.. well, mixed results. Yesterday I went on a double-header after Scarce Chaser and Southern Damselfly and today I was up on't Moor looking for Small Red, Scarce Blue-tailed, Southern* or whatever I could find!

[[*Yes, I know, but if you don't look...]]

Exminster was very toasty - at least when the sun wasn't behind a cloud - but despite the heat and light wind, the dragons seemed not to be up to much. I did find a Scarce Chaser right away, as an immature passed by, but then things dried up. Perhaps unsurprisingly, as I discovered that the lovely pair of ditches where I'd scored last year have been blocked [I assume as part of the ongoing program to make the marsh better for breeding waders] and are now mud. Nice job, there. [[Yes, I know it's important and all that, but Scarce Chasers are not exactly common, and while there are more ditches, they aren't where the public can get at them!]] [[Not that I'm annoyed or anything.]]. Things were not all doom and gloom, however, as the birds - especially a couple of super-showy Sedge Warblers - performed very well indeed. Lots of Azure and Large Red Damselflies, with the usual Red-eyeds on the canal and a few Common Blue and Blue-taileds with a single Emperor and a couple of Hairy Hawkers were pretty much as expected. Late on, I got a surprise on the odonata front, when I was amazed to see a male Scarce Chaser by the canal. Not really the supposed habitat, but maybe he didn't have a choice.

Heading on the the East Devon Commons for the hottest part of the day, I had fair hopes of some good views of Southern Damselflies. That should have been the warning, right there. Yup, not a sniff. It started gloriously, with a stonking Golden-ringed Dragonfly right in the car park [My, er, exuberant reaction may have unnerved an elderly couple having a cuppa in their car... Oops.] Tons of Azures and Large Reds, with a few Common Blues and Blue-taileds, but no Southerns that I could see. This may be due to me being useless, of course, or [more likely] that, like the Scarce Blue-taileds, they're just not about yet. Lovely views of Broad-bodied Chasers, though, and my first Black-tailed Skimmer of the year. On the bird front, adorable baby Stonechats and a Cuckoo, but not a hint of a Dartford.. :( It was quite nice - certainly [dipping Southern aside] better than I expected, with the wog dalkers staying close to the roads I only had a few of Her Majesty's Finest for company. Even better, I only got attacked by Horseflies twice, and fended both off without getting bitten :D. I'll give it a week or three and, when [if....] the weather allows I'll try again. [[Yeah, that's right you little blue gits - I'll be back!]]

Today I went and had a mooch around the boggy bits of Vitifer, where, as the title suggests, there were many things Red. Mostly these were Large Red Damselflies, which were everywhere and looking very smart in the sunshine, I have to say. I also got a nice teneral female Small Red Damselfly and a surprise Red Grouse while following a sheep track to a boggy bit that shall remain in an unspecified area. As ever with grouse, it was debatable who was more surprised, though at least this time I didn't turn a corner in a peat pass and flush a pair from right next to my head [[That makes you jump..]]. Whinchats were plentiful and showy, and a total of 3 singing Cuckoos was pretty good for one valley. [[Those Cuckoos were sneaky, only 2 ever sang at once, and if I wasn't staring right at one while the other two were dueting, I'd have been fooled.]]

Twas not all joy and Redness; a blue damselfly spp. [yes, one single one - only one all day] managed to evade me and despite a fair bit of good-looking habitat, there was nothing else scarce. More Broad-bodied Chasers and a few quite confiding Keeled Skimmers did make me regret trading the paparazzi setup for the li'l scope - but of course if I had, then a Kite or a frickin' Pallid Swift would have gone over. You rolls the dice and so on...

No comments:

Post a Comment