Thursday 19 July 2012

Dragon hunting, Part 5

View of Gairloch Bay - fog
Thursday saw a lazy start to proceedings due to the fog blanketing the bay. However, once the far shore could be seen, we set forth for Slattadale to resume our search for Azure Hawkers.

Whilst we managed to find Common Hawkers, Golden-ringed Dragonflies, Common Darters, Northern Emeralds and Large Red Damselflies, there was no sign of our target species. Sigh.

Northern Emerald, Somatochlora arctica
We took the decision to drive south east, along the shores of Loch Maree, to the Beinn Eighe NNR, where we had seen one female A. caerulea on Sunday. Again, there were plenty of odes, this time including Four-spotted Chaser and Common Blue Damselfly, but no confirmed Azure Hawkers.

Fortunately, other natural history treats included...

Oblong-leaved Sundew, Drosera intermedia
Long-tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus
Bog Asphodel, Narthecium ossifragum
And the eponymous mountain, Beinn Eighe
We nipped down the road to Kinlochewe for a late lunch in the Whistlestop Cafe, before returning to the reserve to persevere with the quest. More disappointment, this time echoed in the hills by darkening skies, which heralded an approaching storm. Rather than risk another drenching, we drove back to Gairloch and sat outside the cottage, watching as the storm traversed the bay, punctuated by flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder.

In the evening, we admired the ever-changing cloudscape and pottered on the shore.

An aquatic woodlouse, Ligia oceanica

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