Monday, 23 August 2021

There Be Dragons

 Despite a good weather forecast our first lap of Messingham Sand Quarry LWT reserve was chilly and somewhat gloomy. Although we did manage to find a few beasties there were no large dragonflies on the wing.  I had met Roger and Kevin in the car park at 8.30.  It was good to catch up with each other as we had not met up for months, part Covid and part other commitments.  By the time we had completed our first circuit it was time for something to eat during which time the sun came out and our next two laps were in ideal conditions.  In fact I should have take my wellies off; it was like walking with my legs in a sauna.  I record my walks on the Strava app and it is fascinating to not how much water there is at Messingham when seen on a map.

We had seen one or two butterflies earlier but now the sun was out they were much more noticeable especially the brimstones nectaring on one particular area of scabious and purple loosestrife.  Peacocks and red admirals were irresistibly drawn to the soft pink flower heads of hemp agrimony.  As well as good numbers of common blue damselflies there were now large dragons on the wing: quite a few migrant hawkers and one or two southern hawkers.  The most common were the brown hawkers but they do what it says on the tin: spend all their time hawking for prey and only rarely perching up at all.  Although I managed shots of migrant and southern the browns eluded me.

A highlight of the day was the large numbers of quite approachable lizards out basking in the sun, which, even if disturbed soon returned to a favoured spot.  Quite a few young ones about too which is good news.  Also on the dragonfly front there were plenty of the smaller darters about, mainly common but also a few ruddies.

It was good to come across a very large hoverfly, Volucella zonaria, busitly feeding on scabious.

A good day was had and very pleasant to catch up with friends after such a long time.

To view large, please click on an image.

Brimstone
Brimstone
Brimstone
Brown Mottlegill
European Firebug
Common Blue Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
Common Darter
Common Darter
Common Darter
Common Darter
Common Darter
Common Darter
Common Lizard
Common Lizard
Common Lizard
Common Lizard
Long-winged conehead cricket
Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria
Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria

Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria
Common Lizard
Migrant Hawker
Migrant Hawker
Peacock
Peacock
Red Admiral
Red Admiral
Rosebay Willowherb
Ruddy Darter
Shield Bug
Shield Bug
Southern Hawker, female
Southern Hawker, female
Speckled Wood.

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