Monday, 1 July 2013

Dragonflies at Last

Yesterday we went up to Huntingdonshire as the weather looked pretty good for insects. Colin had been following reports of Black Hairstreak so we were making them our main target.
Toss up between various woods but we ended up at Brampton Wood which we have only visited once many years ago. it was warm, getting quite hot as the morning progressed and rather humid.
Got a few butterflies on the main ride north, a few Large Skippers, single Green Veined White
and lots of Speckled Woods.Lots of Common Blue and Azure Damsels. A diversion to the two small ponds did not produce any dragonflies but the Common Spotted orchids were looking good.
We made our way along the western ride and found a couple of promising stands of Blackthorn. The second turned out to be the best, though the Speckled Woods were a problem. I located a Black Hairstreak near the top of the bush where it rested for a spell before flying into a nearby oak and remained on view for around five minutes. A second more elusive u=individual was seen from time to time but neither came close enough to the cameras.
We continued on to the western edge of the wood where we located the very nice ancient Wild Pear. More stands of Blackthorn were found as expected but no more butterflies were seen apart from our first very fresh Ringlet.
On reaching the car park, we rested and chatted to a couple. We had planned on going to Houghton Mill for dragonflies but they suggested that Woodwalton Fen would be worthwhile so we went there instead. By the time we arrived, around 1230 it had got rather hot and while having a bit of lunch we noticed a number of large dragonflies along the main drain-this section turned out to be very productive with a large number of Scarce Chasers, Four Spotted Chasers and Red Eyed Damsels. A single patrolling Emperor was also seen.
The main part of the reserve was hard work as the wind was picking up and it proved frustarting. Hoards of Azure and Common Blue Damsels-I tried but failed to find any Variables, along the tracks, with Large Red Damsels and Four Spotted whenever  we found stretches of water. Several Hairy Dragonflies were also seen.
Birds were rather elusive as expected at this time of year but several Chiffchaffs and Willow warblers were e still singing, as were one or two Blackcaps Garden Warblers and Reed warblers.

No comments: