A very quick blog post today (which I may add to if time allows).
Two lovely firsts for me (and my eldest boy) in the last two days.
1) Yesterday we (my eldest boy and I) took our mountain bikes onto the trails of Swinley Forest, to test his new speedometer/odometer, to get some fresh air and also to see if we could add to his bird tally of 94 (for his (original) "Around the birds in eighty aves" quest, which we actually completed in April this year, so have increased the total target from 80 to 100).
We were I suppose, specifically on the lookout for Crossbill, redstart, hobby and if at all possible, Dartford Warbler.
Well... we didn't see any Crossbills. Nor Redstarts. Nor any hobbies. But we DID see THREE Dartford Warblers - and they were... magnificent! I'd never seen Dartford Warblers before in my life, but the last time we mountain biked around the heaths of Swinley Forest, I certainly HEARD one - so I thought we'd return and really try and FIND one.
No photos unfortunately, but a lovely sight to see - and yet another reminder for me, if I needed one (I don't!) that I really LOVE lowland heaths in England - with the right weather, I really feel like I'm on holiday in the Med, each time we visit!
2) I dug my (our) garden pond nine years ago. About 5 months after we moved in. And a few months before my eldest was born. I was roundly told by more than a few people that I was MAD to dig a pond in the garden with a baby on the way. I regarded them as mad NOT TO, to be honest. It's not like I would allow any baby or toddler access to the pond on their own. (And I fenced it off from the rest of the garden too - not even our chickens, which we kept at the time) could get close to the pond). Ben loves looking for frogs and newts and lilies in our pond -I'd have LOVED one myself as a boy - and I'm sure little Finn will enjoy it too when he gets a bit older.
It's been a stunning success our pond. Especially for frogs and newts (dozens and dozens of newts this year). But not so much for dragonflies. Oh sure, I've seen hawker and darter and chaser odonates zip around the garden each summer, but these wonderful insects never seemed that interested in our lovely pond. I'd never seen any large dragons emerge from our pond. Only damsels. And to be honest, not too many of them either.
That all changed last week when I noticed at least TWO hawker-shaped dragonfly nymphs explore the surface of the pond.
And this morning.... this happened.
I DID (you'll see) get a photo or two of this - and I'm very pleased to report that ten years (or so) after digging our pond, we DO finally have large dragons (Southern hawkers I think... but my famous Uncle would know at a glance) emerging from our pond - a first for us.
Have a lovely week.