It really is a pleasant walk, between heather banks and verges of wild flowers, a little rough underfoot, but the climb is very gentle. Stonechats, Willow Warblers, Robins, Meadow Pipits and Wrens were all feeding young. Hoverflies and butterflies, a few moths and a bazillion other flying insects were all on the wing, as were a Hen Harrier and a Cuckoo.
When we arrived at the quarry, however, our mood darkened at the sight of virtually dry pools and an almost complete absence of damselflies. M spotted one fluttering up from the vegetation, a very fresh Blue-tail, and we mused that this could be last one emerging from the pools this year unless there's some prolonged spells of rain soon. There are dragonflies which breed here, whose flight season has not yet begun, so their larvae are stuck in the mud. I have no idea whether that is a survivable situation for Black Darters and Common Hawkers.
How and ever, not everyone was so distraught at the lack of water in the pools. A female Crane Fly was busy egg-laying into the mud. I have to admit to wincing whilst watching it.
Somewhat down-heartedly, we retraced our steps through the dale, musing upon the lack of rainfall and the natural processes of vegetative succession which were threatening this breeding site for at least four species of Odonata. Thankfully, Nature slowly worked its magic upon us, as the other wildlife of Russadale came to our rescue.
|A Red-thighed St Mark's Fly|
|A female Common Blue butterfly|
|Valerian fit to burst|
|Oh, that conjunction of red flower bud and green ferniness|
|Slender St John's-wort|
|A Meadow Brown butterfly|
|A male Common Blue butterfly|
|Blue boys on Valerian|
|Another male Common Blue butterfly|