Red Darter on the Dart

Off this sunny Sunday afternoon to give the new Lumix DMC40 a try out.

Waiting by the Dart river to see if Beautiful Demoiselles might still be around.

Waiting. Watching.

And then dropped down this Red Darter dragonfly.

Red Darter on the Dart Sept 2018

Right in front of where I stood, only 4 feet away.

Having a mini break from dizzy darting about.

In a headspin she was. Chewing a fly.

Red Darter on the Dart 2 Sept 2018

I bent down to get near but she shot up in the air scraping past the top of my head.

I waited around for a while to see if she’d come back.
But she didn’t.

Had to content myself instead with wagtails bouncing about on the far bank.
And being dipped in delicious by the lovely sunny river.

Warren Wonder

A Saturday afternoon on Dawlish Warren.
In just a few hours we were entertained and engrossed by:

Red Darter and Emperor Dragonflies.
Hundreds of Oystercatchers.
Six Barnacle Geese * (on the golf course obstructing play)
Two Little Egrets frisking about together.
A Kestrel hovering.
A flock of Linnets rapid flyover.
A Robin singing any other bird off.
A dainty stepping Mediterranean Gull *.
A Cormorant hanging its wings out to dry.
A Grey Heron preening, prancing, flapping, and flying.

* Barnacle Geese and Mediterranean Gull are new additions to Birder Brown & Birder Nisbets Twitcher Tick List (only another 198 birds/ticks to go)

A veritable bird bonanza is Dawlish Warren.

(Bad) (Mad) Bird watchers: Hazel Brown & Ian Nisbet

More Mating Damselflies

The current heatwave seems to be spurring the damselflies up at Tessier Gardens into a mating frenzy.

There were dozens of Common Blues and Big Reds darting and dancing around the little lily pond.

We saw 2 males (Big Reds) strung together on a female. One male clamped onto the head of the other male who was clamped onto the head of the female. Extraordinary (if a little bizarre)

A micro world of massively intense fascination.

Filming: Haze Brown & Ian Nisbet; Vid: Ian Nisbet

Tessier Garden Damselflies

Haze filmed Common Blue Damselflies in Tessier Garden this week.

Males mating and merging with the females.

So exquisitely intricate, fragile, delicate.
(although the dominant grip the males lock the females heads into looks fearsomely archaic)

The males then dance and dip the females into the pond to get them to release (oviposit) their eggs.

This has all been going on for millions and millions of years.

Filming: Haze Brown; Vid: Ian Nisbet

River Dart Enchantment

A few pictures from yesterdays ‘enchantment’ on the Dart river.

I was too intent on looking for Beautiful Demoiselles to have much time or attention for anything else.

I noticed the Red Devons in the river but only got to them as they were coming out. But one obliging chap stayed in

Drinking the Dart 2

He stood in the water for well over 10 minutes obviously enjoying the river cooling him down (not that it was a particularly sweltering day)

And now he’s having another drink of river Dart sparkling champagne.

Drinking the Dart

I was seeing quite a few butterflies flitting about but felt I had to keep my attention focused on finding those Demoiselles

Here’s a fairly common butterfly (but new, and therefore uncommon, to me)

Gatekeeper Aug 2017

That’s called a ‘Gatekeeper’. He seemed to be guarding those flowers there (help! what are they called Haze?!)

I could hear a buzzards high pitched keening call from above but he was too high and too far away for me to get a clear image of.

But I could get decent (or indecently) close pics of these Demoiselles. This is the male (far more beautiful than the plainer female)

Beautiful Demioselle male 2

These Beautiful Demoiselles have made my summer they have.

Well, so far. Until some other marvel magics the moment I happen to be sauntering into next.

Beautiful Demoiselles (on the river Dart)

Out for a walk down the river Dart yesterday afternoon. Shock! Horror! It actually felt like a summer day for a change (we’re not seeing enough sun, feeling enough heat this year down in Devon)

I wasn’t expected much.

But then I got everything I wanted.

Beautiful Demoiselles!

That’s the actual name of these damselflies: “Beautiful Demoiselles”

How lucky am I?! The afternoon was transformed.

I got into my zone of intent absorption looking for these ‘beauties’ with my camera.

First there was a bronze green female. Then a bigger blue black male fluttered up.
I was having to be patient, use stealth, to get close enough up to them to get good vid.

And meanwhile the steam train was tootle tootling back and forth.

And the buzzard was up there above hunting and swooping.

And a little herd of Red Devon cows descended into the water to drink a refreshing bellyful of river.

My mood moved out of neutral into slightly enthralled.

A bit of Thursday afternoon enchantment on the Dart river with the Beautiful Demoiselles.

Boodiful! (as they say down here)

Vid & Words: Ian Nisbet

Little Bradley Ponds

First visit on Saturday to Little Bradley Ponds near Bovey Tracey. Apparently its ‘dragonfly heaven’.

The morning sun had already been obscured by thick wodges of cloud by the time we got there (around 11) We sit on the spongy rim of the pond munching our hogs pud sarnies staring out at the gentle pitter patter of rain on the lily pads. No dragonflies today.

Today the forecast is better, so we shoot up there again; plonk ourselves down on the rim of the pond again with hogs pud and bacon sarnies, flask of coffee, flapjacks, hoola hoops. And wait.

Here they come, flashing around everywhere: dancing red darters ovipositing; and chasing emperors (or southern hawkers, we still aren’t sure which) hunting. The thrill that wasn’t here yesterday is back again as the hawkers whizz around our heads so fast. Its almost impossible to get the camera on them.

Big clots of clouds keep blotting out the sun. The sun-sense in the dragonflies is so acute they immediately stop flying; it’s like they need the sun’s light for their eyes and the sun’s warm in their wings to come alive.

It’s peaceful here though. No walkers hording around. No dogs. No kids screeching. We’ve got this dragonfly pond all to ourselves. It’s ours. We’ve claimed it for the day.

This pond has got a little island centering it, and lily pads polka dotting the surface. It’s surrounded and sheltered by trees. On a hot sunny summer day this pond would indeed be dragonfly heaven.

And it’s not been too bad today either. I’m getting enough glimpses of these greeny blue whizzers to make this vid.

By 4 o’clock we’ve packed up and gone – whizzing back to Torquay in a trice. Feeling like we’ve got what we went for: a lovely dragonfly afternoon of peace and tranquility. Another ‘gold medal moment’.

A place to return to. Next spring perhaps. With a tent.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet