Magpies and Damselflies

IMAG0081We put peanuts out at heavy dusk. If timed wrong though and put out too early, like last night, these two Magpies can clear the lot in not long over fifteen minutes. We were watching them here last night through a scope. They stuff their beaks with peanuts, fly a short way away, bury them and are back within a minute for another load.

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But once this cub turned up, the Magpies didn’t dare approach any closer, although they were making the most tremendous rattling, scolding noise to try to get it to retreat. It didn’t – this fox had been visiting this spot in eager peanut anticipation for a while and wasn’t going to be put off by a couple of gobby birds:

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Last year, we started putting peanuts out just temporarily because we wanted to get the badgers to come up to the hide so that we could see them, but somehow, once started, we have never stopped. Here are four of our lovely badgers last night at the peanuts all in a neat row:

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One of the challenges I have set myself for this year is to become more knowledgeable about Damselflies. We have these two at the ponds at the moment:

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I got the ID book out and had a serious look. This involved getting to grips with several words such as ‘coenagrion spur’, ‘costa’ and ‘pronotum’ – all dragonfly body parts that can be diagnostic and so need to be considered carefully. Also important are eye colour, the markings on each of the abdomen segments and striping on the legs. Having gone through all this, I think I can be fairly confident in announcing that these are male and female Azure Damselflies, a common and widespread little thing, especially at home in small ponds and ditches in the early summer.

I then noticed them coupling:

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I was happily watching this peaceful little scene when the whole thing was hijacked by the arrival of a pair of aerially mating Broad Bodied Chasers which was a much more noisy, high-energy affair:

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This is not in focus because it was all a bit of a surprise and was over quite quickly, after which the female immediately started egg laying.

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This involved rapid daps down of her abdomen into the water while still on the wing. Again, very difficult to photograph if unprepared and there is no time to bump the speed setting up on the camera.

This photo is even more inept:

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But hopefully shows that there were then two egg-laying females and a patrolling dusty blue male. All very exciting but frustrating if trying to capture on film.

Rainy but warm today – and now June, the most glorious of months. Looking forward to seeing what it brings.

 

 

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