North Cliffe Wood – 18/10/12

Heathland Pond

Heathland Pond

On first arrival temperatures were only around ten degrees with the sun hidden behind a thin veil of cloud. A female Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta was found hung up on the first ‘gorse’ bush, vibrating her wings as she tried to warm up the muscles for flight. As I walked around the edge of the heath there were no further signs of activity, temperatures still just to low. I checked the best sheltered areas but found nothing, so headed over to the pond. Here I managed to find two Birch Shieldbugs Elasmostethus interstinctus amongst the ‘juncus’, along with a Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris, but no dragonfly activity. As the sun was slowly becoming brighter, I headed back to the sheltered area, in the hope that it had prompted some activity. This time a few Common Darters Sympetrum striolatum were observed trying to warm up on the pale fence posts, though none actively flying. As I turned to depart a male Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea flew into view, hunting prey along the edge of the ‘bracken’. I watched it for a short while, though there was little chance that it was going to land and settle, due to its need to feed. All in all, good to see three species of dragonfly still present. The reality is however, that these could be the last of the season for me, as days off, tying in with decent weather are less likely, as their season slowly draws to a close.

Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixta

Migrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta

Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum

Common Darter – Sympetrum striolatum

Common Wasp - Vespula vulgaris

Common Wasp – Vespula vulgaris

Birch Shieldbug - Elasmostethus interstinctus

Birch Shieldbug – Elasmostethus interstinctus