Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dragonfly Central

Yesterday I set off with every intention of doing another "Stone to Steel" walk from Deepcar and along Wharncliffe Crags. I missed the starting point of the walk and found myself on the Stocksbridge bypass, whence more by good luck than good management, I found myself at the TPT car park at Finkle Street at the far end of the intended walk. I set off to do the walk, just from a different starting point, but after less than a mile, I found a pond which had a large number of damselflies flitting about, and on closer inspection, I noticed that there were a lot of dragonfly nymphs ready to emerge.

I spent over an hour watching and photographing as they emerged and also saw numbers of newts in the pond. I did manage to get up onto the crags, where I sat and enjoyed the sunshine as the earliest of the heather was starting to bloom and the heath was alive with the sounds of bees and grasshoppers, and I spotted this splendid chap on the path.

Rather than complete the walk, I retraced my steps, as I was keen to see how the dragonflies were getting on. In the woodland, I saw yet another treecreeper. It's a weird fact that once you get your eye in for things, you seem to see them all the time.
The decision return to the pond was inspired because not only did I see yet more dragonflies and newts, but a grass snake - a first for me - swimming across the pond. I had hoped to see lots of butterflies, but there were relatively few considering the warm sunshine, but there were the occasional commas, gatekeepers, ringlets, and speckled woods. Still, mustn't grumble as overall, it was an excellent day's wildlife watching.

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