Friday, July 8, 2011

Water and woodland

Visiting a friend recently we went a walk in a nearby woodland. It was noticable that birdsong had diminished though there was still lots of activity. Most of the birds were common and juvenile. We approached a pond which had a lot of flag iris on one side but also a lot of clear water. I started looking for odonata but was initially frustrated. My friend suddenly pointed across the water at a large red damselfly. It was the opening of the floodgates with several large reds and azures patrolling the area. A few of these were in tandem and two pairs were ovipositing. I then heard the buzz of wings which turned out to be a male emperor. We enjoyed watching this energetic dragonfly as he protected his territory. Then a little closer to us was another dragonfly with what seemed to be an almost golden body. It was soon joined by its partner who had a powder blue body. It was a pair of broad-bodied chasers. The female did a lot of ovipositing near the edge of the pond. We decided to amble back home keeping our eyes open for butterflies. We were overwhelmed by the number of speckled wood butterflies.Others seen were small whites, small tortoiseshell, meadow brown and Red Admiral. I then was puzzled by a butterfly I did not recognise so I took a photo. Once home I discovered it was a ringlet - a first for me. I have not published the location of this woodland since we also saw signs of badger, and the decision should be made soon, by our greenest government ever? to start culling this lovely creature.

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