Wednesday 10 July 2024

Grey Start....Golden Finish.

With the weather we are having recently, it wasn't the start I had hoped for at Birk Bank on Monday. Nothing had changed at the bog, and to be honest I'd refer to it as being grim, and with a dark grey cloud hanging overhead didn't have things looking like they were going to change anytime soon. But sightings from the path to the bog cheered things up, with a Garden Warbler, a male Blackcap, and Song Thrush seen as I set off for a wander to Cragg Wood.

The Willow Warbler seems to have gone silent, but I did get good views of one, along with a juvenile Robin, 3 Wren, and a Red Grouse. A male Stonechat was alarmed at my presence, but I've yet to find evidence of breeding anywhere I have been this year so far, though there are a few 'probable's' according to pairs and behaviour I've observed.

Stonechat. Ian Mitchell.

Ian Mitchell is one up one me regarding Stonechat breeding records, with two juvenile seen on Hawthornthwaite on Monday.

When I arrived at Cragg Wood, a Spotted Flycatcher was seen again as it had been on 26 June, but I saw no Golden-ringed Dragonfly on the River Conder in the brief time I spent here.

Bilberry Bumblebee. Pete Woodruff.

On the return leg I came across this smart little Bilberry Bumblebee which gave me no opportunity for a decent picture, but it was my eighth this year, all seen around Birk Bank.

Sexton Beetle. Pete Woodruff.

Another smart little critter I came across, was the Sexton Beetle complete with phoretic mites which travel with the carrion beetle to scavenge on leftovers, and help keep the beetle clean.

The Golden Finish.

I was in the good company of MJ/AC/MP at Birk Bank bog during my two visits here on Monday, when I had given the best part of an hour on the first to connect with nothing.

Keeled Skimmer. Martin Jump.

But there was life on the bog on the second visit when 3 Keeled Skimmer were seen, including a mating pair. Things really took off when AC called Golden-ringed Dragonfly close in and coming closer, until the female came within touching distance and decided to start egg laying giving us the chance in a million opportunity of close scrutiny.

The Golden-ringed Dragonfly is the only Cordulegaster species in a large part of western and northern Europe including the British Isles. The female has a long needle-like ovipositor which can be seen in the video as it characteristically jabs repeatedly down into the bed of shallow water, as if on a pogo stick! It typically breeds in acidic waters which makes Birk Bank bog the perfect habitat for this brilliant dragonfly.

Claver Hill.

On Sunday I decided to check out Claver Hill which has a nature trail and is an area I have never heard of until I saw a piece in the local newspaper about an open day there at the end of July. There is a pond which I was keen to see, and found 6 Emperor Dragonfly including a mating pair.

Thanks to Martin Jump and to Ian Mitchell for their images, they are much appreciated. My header of Heather on Clougha I chose at random. 


  1. Pity Birk Bank Bog is so quiet but the weather is not helping. Cracking video of the Golden Ringed Dragonfly though doing its thing. You seem to be getting your eye in now with Bilberry Bumblebees.
    Nice header picture of Clougha.
    Thanks for the info.
    Ian Mitchell

  2. Thanks Ian....Note, the Heather on Clougha picture is from my library and doesn't look like that just yet, in a months time perhaps.


  3. Hello Pete,
    You have a good eye, I probably wouldn't have seen the birds in the bush..
    Greetings Frank

  4. Thanks Frank, I appreciate your support for B2B with your comments. Please note, the Stonechats were found and photographed by my god friend Ian Mitchell.