North Cliffe Wood – 25/08/13

Paid an evening visit to this quiet gem of a reserve in the hope of finding several species of ‘hawker’ hanging up in the trees, soaking up the last of the evening sun. I managed to find a few Southern Hawkers Aeshna cyanea and Migrant Hawkers Aeshna mixta along the western path, the latter species now building in numbers, and a sure sign that autumn is fast approaching. There were good numbers of Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum, another indicator of late summer. The heathland pond water level was low, but as long as it doesn’t dry out this bodes well for next years dragonfly season. At this time of day there was no activity around the pond, due do it being shaded by trees on the western side, though Emerald Damselflies Lestes sponsa were encountered not to far away. Finally I picked out a female Black Darter Sympetrum danae, sunning itself on a pale fence post, trying to make the most of the remaining heat of the day.

Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyaneaSouthern Hawker – Aeshna cyanea

Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixtaMigrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta

Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixtaMigrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta

Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatumCommon Darter – Sympetrum striolatum

Black Darter - Sympetrum danaeBlack Darter – Sympetrum danae

Speckled Woods Pararge aegeria were back in force, after being absent on my last visit, seemingly between broods. Several ‘whites’ were observed, though not checked to species level. A Peacock Inachis io posed nicely on the woodland edge, whilst a Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas flew past without settling. One of my other targets to photograph was Common Groundhopper Tetrix undulata, at only 10mm in length they are easily overlooked. They prefer the ‘mossy’ areas, and it’s really a case of taking small steps and looking for anything small jumping out of the way. Despite checking on most recent visits this was the first I’ve found this year. Several other ‘grasshopper’ species were heard, with a Mottled Grasshopper Myrmeleotettix maculatus being the only one to pose for the camera.

Peacock - Inachis ioPeacock – Inachis io

Speckled Wood - Pararge aegeriaSpeckled Wood – Pararge aegeria

Common Groundhopper - Tetrix undulataCommon Groundhopper – Tetrix undulata

Mottled Grasshopper - Myrmeleotettix maculatusMottled Grasshopper – Myrmeleotettix maculatus