8 Jun 2014

8 June 14 - Walking On Water

I seem to remember hearing a story about walking on water when I was a kid. Well this is nothing remarkable for the UK's largest Spider, the Raft Spider, which will have been doing it in the UK since the end of the Ice Age. The local RSPB Arne reserve is a good place to see them, but I've had no luck when I've looked in the past. A warm, sunny day seemed a good idea to have another attempt. Also I knew there would a good selection of Dragonflies to photograph. Given it's Heathland, then there is also less grass to set off another hay fever attack.
The Dragonfly pool on Coombe Heath
Raft Spider: Female. The body is just under an inch long with a leg span of almost 3 inches. This one was at the back of one of the pools near the Shipstal hide 
Raft Spider: Female. The other UK Raft Spider is Fen Raft Spider which occurs in a few Fenland sites
I ran into a large party of Long-tailed Tits, which must have been a couple of successful family parties given the number of calling birds in the trees. The youngsters doing their best to out-compete their siblings in the demands for food.
Long-tailed Tit: Adult with a youngster behind adds another family photo tick to the list
Migrant Butterflies were represented by a fly past Clouded Yellow: my first for the year & 3 Painted Ladies.
Painted Lady
There was a good selection of Dragonflies on the pools at Arne.
Emperor Dragonfly: They were spending hours hawking over the pools without stopping. This shot shows the typical large bulky body
Emperor Dragonfly:Female egg laying
Emperor Dragonfly:Female egg laying
Four-spotted Dragonfly: The spots in the middle of the leading edge of each wing identifies this as a Four-spotted Chaser
Azure Damselfly
Perhaps the most surprising event of the day was watching something swim across one of the pools. I got some photos and then as it got to the far side & sat on a convenient reed in the water, I checked in with the scope & realised it was a Lizard. I didn't appreciate they could swim, but it seemed to be doing a good job at it.
Common Lizard: Female. It looked like swimming was something this female had done before 
Common Lizard: Female. She was too heavy to walk on the water
The RSPB Arne reserve sits on a large heathland peninsula which sticks out into the Western end of Poole Harbour. It separates the Wareham Channel from the rest of the Harbour. I don't tend to go there that much, as I end up driving past Studland, Rempstone Forest & Middlebere and one of those sites will generally convince me to stop. But there are great views overlooking Poole Harbour from Arne's Shipstal Point.
Looking towards the Harbour mouth
Looking a little further left is Brownsea
Poole town quay is just across the water
Looking up the Wytch (left) & Middlebere (right) channels

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