Sunday 10 June 2012

Not the Diamond Jubilee, Part 3

Or, "If it's Monday, this must be Cambridgeshire."

With heavy hearts, we finally dragged ourselves away from the Tithe Barn in Sisland, but with definite thoughts of returning in early Spring next year, for a bit of quality Hare time.

Meanwhile, the plan for the journey back to MK was to stop off at Wicken Fen, north of Cambridge, for a bit more natural history before finally returning to Tense Towers.

The skies were clearing, the temperature was rising and by the time we arrived at the National Trust reserve, it was shaping up to be a positive Odonata day. Indeed, as soon as we approached the pond dipping pools, there were damsels and dragons aplenty. Walking along the lode, was an odofest too, with Variable and Red-eyed Damselflies mating and egg-laying, whilst Scarce and Four-spotted Chasers were patrolling the water's edge.

Mating Red-eyed. He's keen, but is she?
More Red-eyed Damselflies, now ovipositing
Variable Damselflies mating
At the East Hide, Our Lass spotted a Kingfisher as it whizzed along a dyke, a Marsh Harrier lazily scoured the reed bed and a pair of Hobbies hawked for dragonflies (Grrrr!). On a pile of disused boardwalk panels, a Common Lizard sunned itself, whilst in the long grass, more damsels were making out.

We ate our picnic lunch on a bench beside another ditch teeming with odes, then wandered around the north side of the fen, where several Hairy Dragonflies were having their own feast,  one individual polishing off a damselfly and another, a bee. There were orchids aplenty, but without a suitable ID guide to differentiate between the various species and their numerous hybrids, we didn't try full identification. However, one species was sufficiently different to allow us to have a reasonable guess, a Common Twayblade.

This appeared to be a particularly good year for orchids at Wicken Fen, as we don't recall seeing so many specimens during previous visits. Perhaps we just hit upon the best time to see them.

Oddly, our walk back to the car just happened to pass the tea shop, with the inevitable calorific consequences. Good times.


holdingmoments said...

Excellent set of pictures Graeme.
That's a place I must make an effort to visit; never been before.

Imperfect and Tense said...

It's a bit of a pilgramage destination for us. We always aim to visit several times a year if possible. Birding can be challenging, but a late evening often brings out the raptors and owls. Spring visits occasionally serve up roding Woodcock. But obviously, the odes play a large part in the attraction!

Tales of a Bank Vole said...

Hey Man - top porn-ode-graphy pickies.