Saturday, 12 July 2014
On The Towpath
This afternoon I checked the rather splendid emergent vegetation along the stretch of canal which forms the eastern boundary of the ARA*. I was looking for dragonflies and damselflies, having a hazy recollection of Banded Demoiselles occurring there many years ago... (Jon, Ray?)...
Odonata seemed to be limited to c50 Blue-tailed Damsels (some females of the bonnie rufescens form) a handful of Common Blue Damselflies and 2 male Brown Hawkers.
Two juvenile Sedge Warblers was encountered in the flags as was a Chiffchaff. A Little Owl was heard to yelp but I couldn't see where it was calling from.
Back over in core Aldcliffe, Gull Bank held birds including 200 Black-headed Gulls, 70 Lapwings, 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 Little Egrets. A couple of House Martins were seen to gather mud, presumably for ongoing repairs. I imagine that the lengthy warm spell has dried out many a martin nest to dangerous extremes.
A Chiffchaff was singing enthusiastically near the sewage works, with another doing so towards Freeman's Wood.
The Green Sandpiper count at the Wildfowlers Pools was 4 once again. Also feeding here were 3 Snipe, 2 adult Little Ringed Plovers and a juv. Pied Wagtail.
By the time I cast my eye over Darter Pool, it was perhaps a way past the day's peak for flying odonata with just 2 Emperors (including an ovipositing female) and one Brown Hawker. This site has a good concentration of Blue-tailed Damselflies, with well over a hundred noted.
A Four-spotted Chaser was by the shallow pond near the eastern viewing point of Freeman's Pools, while several Emperors and a Brown Hawker were seen (distantly) patrolling the large pool.
Birds here included seven Little Grebes (including at least two juveniles), 2 Gadwalls and 12 Lapwings.
Signage news now. Laminated card signs warning of a solar farm planned for the Arna Wood area have been displayed around the parish, while someone has blacked out the old Wildfowlers sign which reminds people that the marsh is a conservation area and that the footpath should be stuck to.
* Aldcliffe recording area!