Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Migrant Hawker

I was hoping that a second visit to Fairburn Ings Tuesday might end up being an improvement on the first. It wasn’t, and although I did see Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo and Red Kite Milvus milvus there, these were little more than specks on the horizon and this just doesn’t cut it for me these days (unless the speck I am looking at happens to be some kind of albatross). A single Little Egret Egretta garzetta did buck the trend by coming fairly close in front of the Lin Dyke hide. I think that at the time I left the UK the only place these were showing up regularly was the Hayle Estuary in Cornwall, so birds seen on recent visits to Fairburn have at least all been ‘Yorkshire ticks’. Despite that, as there are countless thousands flapping around the outskirts of Tainan City at any given moment, it still took some discipline to point a camera at it!

With even the locals grumbling that there was 'nowt about', I turned my attention to dragonflies to get my UK dragonfly list underway. These proved to be the highlight of the day, with the Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta I found resting in some bushes the standout 'thing' of the day.

I found two other big hawkers, though sadly the Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea landed too close to me and by the time I had backed away from it to get the whole insect in the frame a cyclist had come round the corner and flushed it. The female Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis was laying and really not at the best of angles to get aesthetically pleasing shots of.

A couple of darters made their way onto the list, with Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum preferring dry areas along the paths and Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum the fringes of weedy ponds. Blue-tailed Damselflies Ishnura elegans were also numerous in this second habitat.

It pays to diversify a bit and to have something to fall back on in the event that there aren’t any birds to look at. It would have been a very miserable trudge back to Castleford train station without all those dragonflies on my camera! Above photos taken at Fairburn Ings, West Yorkshire 15/8/17.

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