Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Damsels & Parasols

Banded Demoiselle

Parasol Mushroom
Tiger Beetle
I've been to a couple of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserves in the past few days. Today I went to the renowned Brockadale near Pontefract. When I eventually found the reserve it had great potential - it is an attractive mosaic of several habitats. However, I was probably a little late in the year for the best of the chalkland butterflies, and it became very overcast so there was only a trickle of butterflies seen, including: Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Green-veined White. It must be a great place in the early summer for breeding birds, but they were difficult to see. Nevertheless, I heard Green Woodpecker, Jay, Treecreeper, Bullfinch, Sparrowhawk, and I actually saw a Yellowhammer! The highlight of the trip was the sighting of 3 Banded Demoiselles, which cavorted in the sunshine before the clouds rolled in. A bloke reported a dead owl with a damaged wing. It sounded like a Tawny from his description, but I was without his dog when I went looking, so I was unable to confirm his ID. I popped in to Saltmarshe Delph on the way back & saw three Brown Hawkers, a Ruddy Darter, and some Hawkers with blue squares I wasn't near enough to identify. There were posters up about criminal damage, so there must have been some vandalism at the reserve, but the rundown hide, looked the same as always to me. Yesterday, I went looking on the heath at North Cliffe for the Small Coppers. There were at least 30 quite faded individuals on display, but they seemed reluctant to sit and pose, probably because I tried to approach soaked in the obligatory anti-mosquito spray. There were some large Hawkers on the southern part of the heath, but I wasn't able to get near them & I couldn't locate their perching places. I'm used to seeing plenty of Tiger Beetles on the heath in the spring, but this was the latest in the year I've ever seen one so far - one of its antennae looks damaged!

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