Monday 26 August 2013

I Broke my Wheel to see a Migrant Hawker

I've had a bad back, bad knees, and bad headaches. THis did not stop me heading out on my bicycle on Wednesday 21st August to RSPB Langford Lowfields to see what I might see, and also to stop myself from getting too chubby.

As is usual this time of year, dragonflies were numerous on the way in, and I tried to photograph a common darter male sat on a thistle by the entrance gate. Sadly, amazingly co-operative though the dragonfly was, my mobile phone camera doesn't like focussing on them - can't handle the clear wings I think - and these pictures were disappointing. Disappointment also followed when I looked for purple hairstreaks around the ash tree at the entrance. No joy, sadly.

So I cycled down to the screen, kicking up clouds of damselflies and darters, and large white butterflies. Like a true Jain, I tried not to hit anything.

At the hide, pretty much the same as last week, with fewer egrets and no marsh harrier. And somehow, even more lapwing, with amateur birdwatcher fooling juvenile starlings amongst them. Terns dipped their beaks in the water, and there were still a few sand martins around I think.

But it was on the path side of the screen where the action was. I failed to photograph a beautiful mating pair of common blue damselflies, that flew off still locked in a circular embrace. A common darter obligingly let me get a good picture this time, and all through the air, large yellow thoraxed, blue abdomened dragonflies abounded.

These kept their distance for the most part, and I cursed them mightily, but eventually I kept an eye on one that looked like it was looking to settle. And settle it did, its 6 legs wrapped round a twig.

I closed in, barely breathing, wishing I was weightless to avoid rustling the grass. From the pale blue markings on the abdomen I figured it as a migrant hawker, which the nice Langford people later confirmed for me. I came closer, and closer still, and it didn't move! I was able to spend ten minutes observing, filming, and taking photographs of this magnificent, beautiful insect - see previous picture posts - and this was able to distract me from the vicious attentions of the very bitey twin lobed dear flies.

This made the day. Typically, it also made the day too good to be true, for as I cycled home, a huge and blunt twig went through both sides of my inner tube 5 miles from home.

Lucky is the man who has a kindly stepfather!

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