Saturday, 5 June 2010

Bellasis blues

Definately not in the moods sense. Visited at lunch time on the off chance the sun had brought out the Banded Damoiselles and three males flew intermittently, one taking a regular perch in good view from the bridge and allowing a chance of some flight shots.

If ever their paths crossed a battle ensued but they all seemed to have their own patch to hunt. Meanwhile upstream Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler sang and a Pied Wagtail was flycatching before feeding young in a bank side nest.

As I concentrated on the Damoiselles something caught my eye in the ditch and a grey form pushed a black object across the river. Otter registered in my befuddled brain and my fingers became like the arms of Shiva as settings and focus were changed in panic. Fortunately the Otter (actually a Mink see comments) stopped on the shingle bank having crossed the river, dropping the prey and allowing a few shots before it realised where the camera noise was coming from and headed off downstream.

If you enlarge the shot the a rear foot of the messy black bundle is visible seeming to confirm that it is mole for lunch.

Well that's a good hour well spent and before that I'd visited Banks pond where Common Bluets were in abundance and four Four spotted Chasers proved a moving challenge too far but there's always one that likes to stop and show.

Still earlier I'd done my usual Saturday count on Prestwick Carr which returned 46 species with breeding now being confirmed for many of them. Also found a Small Copper and can't remember ever finding one there before but then my brains shot.

Cracking if that Black Kite would only follow the A1 south there's a patch just off to the west.......


  1. Going off the size compared to the mole, it looks like a Mink unfortunately. Even a young Otter would be considerably larger.

  2. Sorry mate. looks like a Mink to me also.

  3. What an hour Peter.
    I was there midweek and saw...nowt. Well done.

  4. Could you tell me where this patch is, Peter? - I wouldn't mind a trip there to see the damselflies. The Banded Damoiselles are one of my wish-list species this year.

  5. Thanks for the advice chaps. That one hadn't crossed my mind but is consistent as there was a Mink farm two miles to the west on the same river at Kirkley Mill till the late nineties. I think it was in the eighties the sabs raided it and released 100's into the wild.

  6. Grid Ref is NZ190776. Go north from Banks Pond to Horton Grange. Turn left then first right after the bad bend onto a single track road heading north one mile passing the entrance to the cheese farm and you really can't miss the humped back bridge after the bend! Stand in the triangular pedestrian refuge and look down...hopefully but best choose a sunny day as action more likely.

  7. Might be worth reporting the Mink sighting to the NWT Peter...

  8. Will do Mark although I think one of my followers list works for them

  9. Many thanks, Peter. I hadn't realised it was that simple to find. If it's fine on Tuesday I will take a look as I am going to the Newcastle area.

  10. Unfortunately, mink are still around in 'bad' numbers. Although it's a while since I have had one on the Wannie.
    No golden ladies at bellasis?
    Better spot near the bend,just upstream from the bridge.BEWARE though the bank is VERY steep.

    Your Fourspot Has me jealous,as i was there on sunday. No show for me, but the small wood to the right of the gate was full of blues.

    And the answer to your question. It's down to the wind.