Sunday, 26 September 2010

MAMMAL: Roe Deer at Brockholes Wetland, Lancashire

September 26, 2010:
Being close to the Ribble and with much woodland and scrub both on the site and nearby, this wetland is a haven for a number of mammal species which sometimes includes Roe Deer. Intensive construction work on the new facilities is carried out on weekdays so that not many animals have been seen lately but on this quiet Sunday afternoon, one at least was inspecting the new developments.

It took quite an interest in the brightly coloured notice-board and seemed reluctant to leave until spotting a long lens aimed in its direction 150 metres away.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

DRAGONFLY: Brown Hawker and Migrant Hawker at Mere Sands, Lancashire

September 16, 2010:
On a cool blustery early autumn day with little sun, it was rather rather surprising to see Brown and Migrant Hawkers flying. They mainly kept to the more sheltered areas at the tree margins but were inclined to settle onto vegetation more frequently than normal. This was especially noticeable for the Brown Hawker as these seem to fly for ever and are rarely seen settled except when ovipositing. Common Darters were also flying as well as Comma, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood butterflies.

Brown Hawker, female (both above), Migrant Hawker, male (both below)

Friday, 10 September 2010

DRAGONFLY: Southern Hawkers (Aeshna cyanea) near Silverdale, Lancashire

September 9, 2010:
A small sheltered pool near Silverdale has several species of dragonfly including Common Darter, Black Darter and the rather scarce Ruddy Darter. Here also are Southern Hawkers but despite having made several visits to the site in the last few weeks, I had failed to get a photo of any at rest. Today, whether it was the temperature, the cooler weather conditions, or the time of day, several males settled obligingly, only spending short periods in flight or buzzing an onlooker, and much preferring to perch at the pool edge on the reed-mace, willow-herb, meadowsweet or bramble.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

DRAGONFLY: Southern Hawkers and Common Hawkers near Burnley, Lancashire

September 2/3, 2010:
A small isolated wooded pool close to the Pennine moorland had at least three species of Hawker flying today. The conditions were ideal for dragonflies, windless and very warm in the sheltered hollow amongst the trees. A female Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) attempted to oviposit (below) onto a desiccated log well above water-level and repeatedly changed position in trying to find an acceptable site.

Males also patrolled the area (below), regularly buzzing any observer whilst a Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) was seen ovipositing on floating weed but this was on the far side of the pool and out of camera range.

[A patrolling Southern Hawker]

Common Hawkers (Aeshna juncea) were also flying and a bonus came when one settled on the trunk of a nearby pine. At first photographed at long range, it was soon possible to approach extremely closely and even then it didn’t fly, only doing so later to pursue a male which had invaded its territory. Seen against the rough bark of the tree, it was well camouflaged and presumably it knew that.

[Common Hawker]

[The dragonfly pool with a light mist rising]

Several Common Darters (Sympetrum striolatum) were also seen as well as numerous Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterflies. Thanks are due to Allen Holmes for details of this site.