Thursday, 22 August 2013

Soil Hell-Back Again

The weather was nice, today I once more made the ascent up the hill, to see if I could actually track down any birds. I managed a few, which is an improvement on Tuesday. Before I even reached the hill I spotted this lovely female wheatear on the wall along the side of the road. It was not a particularly flighty bird, as wheatears often are so I managed a few reasonable photos to record the fact that there were actually birds there today.
But it was not the only bird, oh no! On the hill there were many meadow pipits and skylarks, a magpie, trios of woodpigeons and pheasants, which jumped out of the long grass at three different intervals and gave me 3 metaphorical heart attacks. There was a large flock of around 20-30 starlings on the mast and as I was leaving were washing themselves in the pool nearest to the mast.
Butterflies were a little down on Tuesday, there remained peacocks, whites and small tortoiseshells but only one small copper and the most abundant butterfly were meadow browns, most of which looked like they had seen better days; tattered wings and faded colouring.
-Small Tortoiseshell
Where the hill exceeded itself was in the dragonfly department, once more, with a record of 3 species! The most common of these was Common Hawker, of which there were at least four, possibly even 5, some having fights but each seemed to have its own pool, whereas on tuesday they had both been on the largest pool.
The top dog as it were on the main pool was quite keen on hovering for a few seconds at each spot, so I made the attempt to try and photograph it in flight. I have a couple of resonable efforts, but whenever it clouded over all dragonflies vanished, so I was eager to have a look round before the cloud became more frequent, for that reason, and the fact that the dragonfly moved and photographing flying dragonflies is hard, these were the only photos I managed that were any good.
-Common Hawker
As I said, I moved on from the main pool to the other pools, where today there were dragonflies. The two male black darters from tuesday had moved to another pool, or possibly a different pair, and here there was no common hawker so they were easier to approach. I got some decent photos of them, a soil hill record shot.

-Black Darter
I made my way round the other pools and found only common hawkers on others beside the 2 main pools. Therefore I returned here when the sun came back out and spotted 2 male Common Darters, which is a new record for me at this site. Having said that, until tuesday I had never seen a dragonfly here, so its not saying much. These darters were not keen to land, as darters often are, so I only got a record shot of it one flight.
-Common Darter
I made my way back to the black darter pond but the sun had gone in and they were not there. There was however, my first female dragonfly of the site, a female common hawker which was ovipositing in the pond, indicating that there is obviously a population here, and this is not some freak event of individuals been blown in.
-Female Common Hawker
So another exciting installment of events on the hill, which has once more excelled itself.

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