28 Sept 2014

28 Sep 14 - Southern Hawker Egg Laying

I spent several hours out Birding locally on Old Harry & Studland today with a selection of commoner typical migrant Bird species seen, but nothing unexpected. Jays were on the move with a flock of 7 North over Studland. An additional 12 heading West from Old Harry, having realised that they were on the end of a headland with water on the Northerly direction that they wanted to go. The Westerly direction would have got them back onto a land route North.
Jay: Part of the flock of 12 which rose out of the front wood by Old Harry
I am always happy to see Long-tailed Tits & I spent some time grilling a couple of mixed Tit & Warbler flocks: but only Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps tagging along today. But the Long-tailed Tits are always great to watch.
Long-tailed Tit: The only European species in my top 10 Birds of the world that I've seen
Long-tailed Tit: It finally got bored with my pishing & after a final look, it decided to move on
There were also a few Butterflies on the wing with Clouded Yellows, Red Admirals, Speckled Woods, Large Whites & a singles of Small Copper & Peacock (the first I've seen for several weeks). The car was showing 23 degrees when I got back to it, so no surprise the Butterflies were enjoying the weather.
Clouded Yellow: The commonest Butterfly seen today with at least 14 individuals. This one appeared to be trying the "If I can't really see you, then you can't see me approach", which didn't really work
The wildlife highlight of the day was this cracking female Southern Hawker which greeted me on my return home. She was egg laying around the main pond. But unlike the other species of Dragonflies & Damselflies, which I've seen lay eggs in water, she was laying eggs in the moss, a few inches above the waterline on the rocks that edge the pond. This is something I've seen before on a few occasions in the last 2 years. From what I've read this evening, it seems that the eggs will not hatch until the following Spring, so perhaps this is a safer strategy for this species than laying the eggs in the pond over the winter. At one point, she even landed on my arm, but wisely decided that a green Rohan fleece was not the right place to lay an egg!
Southern Hawker: Female. This egg was a good 6 inches above water line, with some even higher
Southern Hawker: Female
Southern Hawker: Female. The final 2 segments have bands on them which separates this species from all the other Hawkers