Friday, 3 August 2018

Ditch Watching !

 Plan 'A' was to go to Oare Marshes to check out some waders that I haven't seen for a while,  hopefully see the Red Necked Pharalope, but the birds were not playing ball today, remaining near the centre of the flood and too distant for any photographs, not to mention the light, which was obviously the 'bad light' coming from behind the waders.

Fortunately I had brought my birding scope and managed to pick out the Red Necked Pharalope, typically spinning behind any passing waterbird, four Curlew Sandpipers were found, one of my target birds,  one Little Ringed plover, one Common Sandpiper, but no sign of the summer plumage Spotted Redshank that I would have liked to have seen, but bad light, distant birds, meant switching to Plan 'B'.

A very distant Red-Necked Pharalope

Plan 'B' was to try and get a view of the reported 'Blue-Eyed Hawkers' or Southern Migrant Hawkers, that were frequenting the local ditches.

A local 'Odonata' enthusiast pointed me in the right direction, I made my way towards the ditch, on the west flood, a ditch I had walked pass many times over the years hardly giving it a second glance, I found a convenient small hillock and settled down for some serious 'ditch watching' .

The sun was beating down , I found myself thinking that I needed a good sun hat, trouble is I don't do hats very well, always looking slightly ridiculous, but does that matter in the middle of a marsh, probably not.

Dragons and Damsels were starting to appear, Migrant Hawkers were patrolling up and down the ditch, making my heart race each time one appeared, but not the Blue eyed Hawker I wanted to see.

Migrant Hawker
I was distracted by a passing Grass Snake which made its way along the ditch until it stopped directly opposite me, sensing my presence, it stopped and promptly retreated back into the reeds and out of sight.

I started to notice a few Common Emerald Damselflys making there way up and down the ditch, always quite well camouflaged I find, but I managed to get a few shots.

Common Emerald Damselfly

Next to show were some Damselflies resting on the green matted weed on the surface of the ditch, initially I thought Red-Eyed Damselfly, but on closer inspection I could see the half black and blue segment S8 I believe its called, which signifies the Small Red-Eyed Damselfly according to my friend the 'Odonata enthusiast' who had reappeared and was searching for the Blue-Eyed Hawkers himself.

Small Red-Eyed Damselfly

An occasional Brown Hawker made an appearance proceeding to 'dog fight' with any Migrant Hawker that they encountered, never settling as usual.

Finally the Blue-Eyed Hawker appeared or to give its correct name Southern Migrant Hawker' I would say probably two or three individuals were seen along this relatively short ditch, physically smaller than the Migrant Hawkers, but the blue abdomen and blue eyes were quite striking making them unmistakable. I watched these for some time patrolling up and down the ditch, try as I might I could not get a photograph, very frustrating I just wanted one photograph to record the moment.

I eventually moved over to the East Flood and checked out the ditch that runs alongside the footpath, two more Blue-Eyed Hawkers were seen, these two were on territory, they did not take the incursion of the other on to its chosen territory lightly, chasing each other off.

Unbelievably, each of these eventually landed on the ditch reeds allowing a photograph or two, much to my relief.

Southern Migrant Hawker

All in all a successful day

1 comment:

  1. These pictures are lovely! Such wonder creatures are the odonata