Saturday, 14 June 2014


It was a glorious summer's day yesterday and probably the warmest day of the year so far in this part of the country; if we can string enough days like that together it will be a proper summer and possibly one to remember. I had planned to be up early to make the most of the fine weather but despite my best intentions and two alarms I failed miserably. There just isn't the same incentive to get up early now as there is during spring and autumn migration so it was easy to cancel the alarms and enjoy a lie in.

After the late start and with the temperature rising rapidly I grabbed my camera gear and took the dog for a walk. I hadn't gone far when I came across a male Broad-bodied Chaser that tempted me to take more than a few shots. I have loads of good photos of these dragonflies already but I just find them really hard to resist especially when I find one posing. I soon realised there were 3 males on what is a fairly new pond that was built to take surface water from housing estate. They were quite co-operative and kept coming back to perch on favoured rush stems but they were just too fast when it came to trying to get shots in flight.

Male Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa).
Spot the difference; the pictures above are of different individuals
After getting my fill of chasers I turned my attention to the Azure Damselflies that were frequenting the pond margin in some numbers. Many of them were paired up and some were egg laying but there were plenty of unpaired males around and some of these were not averse to trying to interfere with the tandem pairs. I didn't see any of them succeed but as some made repeated attempts it is presumably a strategy that occasionally works or is at least worth trying if you're a single male damselfly.

Single males repeatedly harried this pair.

Three is a crowd. A single male tries to dislodge the hold between this pair.

If you got the right angle there were some good reflections to be had.

Unfortunately this photo isn't in focus but I have included it as it looked like synchronised egg laying. I doubt I will get a photo opportunity like this again.

The balancing pond is only a few years old but it will need managing in the near future to prevent it from getting too overgrown and losing some of its value to wildlife.
I didn't see any other species of damselfly or dragonfly so I continued my walk much to the dog's delight. We didn't get far before I noticed a male Large Skipper that was in pristine condition and had probably only emerged that morning. It was very co-operative as skippers go especially as it was quite hot by that time which also suggested that it was freshly emerged. I have loads of Large Skipper photos too but there was the chance of getting a better background and slightly different angle so the camera shutter was soon clicking away. A little further on I came across a female in similar pristine condition so it was likely a few had emerged that morning, and you've guessed it she got photographed as well.

Male Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)

Male Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)

Female Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)
There wasn't really anything that came into range on the birding front. There were a few Whitethroats singing and Willow Warblers were feeding young but all kept their distance. A Buzzard was being mobbed by a Carrion Crow overhead but too high and into the sun to try and photograph. There was some sign of juvenile dispersal with Nuthatches calling in areas of scrub well away from the nearest breeding haunts. There were plenty of birds about but none that presented a half decent photo opportunity.

I headed back and called in at the pond once more before going home. I had been out for the best part of 4 hours although it hadn't seemed anything like that long. If you are wondering about the post title well it was fairly hot by our standards and the sun was really strong. I always was a bit of a fan of the Fast Show and the weather reminded me of one of their sketches which put scorchio into the urban dictionary. 

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