Friday, 5 July 2013

Whitethroats, Wabbits and a Damsel in distress at work today

So the predicted heat wave has begun. I was at work today, camera in situ, and knowing the heat was going to rise later in the day and not a lot would be around, was down in the paddocks at the back of the yard at 7am, with the work mobile phone.
At the back of the paddocks just before the skip yard, Common Whitethroats had nested in the brambles. I watched both parents for ages, then a juvenile popped up, but only the one. The three then played 'peek-a-boo' in the shrubs for a while before I managed to grab a couple of photos of one of the adults and the lone youngster.
Apart from the Whitethroats, there wasn't much else around in the way of birds. Two Common Terns flew over towards the fishing lake next door, there were a pair of Linnet flitting around, a large family group of Magpies were noisily chattering to each other and a solo Greenfinch called its grating song from the rubble bank. However there were loads of young rabbits in the paddocks. You can get quite close to them as they have not yet learnt to fear us human beans.
I spotted a few Cinnabar moths, and lots of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were flying around in pairs. This one below stopped for a breather on the fence before it flew off with another one.
The dirt track going from my work yard, through the paddocks and down to the skip yard, is smothered either side by natural wildflowers and grasses. This is where I have been finding hundreds of damselflies over the last few weeks. 
Only the three species so far, Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed.
The Common Blue below unfortunately chose the wrong place to rest. Within seconds of it landing (and me getting my mis-behaving camera to focus on it) a spider appeared and grabbed it. The spider was so well camouflaged that it took me a while to comprehend what was happening. All I noticed at first was the damsel thrashing about trying to fly off.
 The sequence from photo one to photo five actually took an hour. In total I took 56 photos during that hour of this damsels fight for freedom.
 I've had to ask around for an identification of the spider, and the knowledgeable Howard V has suggested it could be a male Nursery Web spider. They don't form webs, they hunt other insects, and spiders, by hiding in long grasses, catching and killing their prey with a lethal bite, then wrapping it in a silky cocoon as a present to their female. While the female is busy eating her present, the male takes the opportunity to have his wicked way with her. Typical male !!!! Lol.
Sadly due to work commitments, I couldn't stay to watch if the spider wrapped the damselfly up, or see if he found a female to offer his 'gift' too. But it was a new experience so well worth watching and waiting for.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos Wendy, have to feel a little bit sorry for the damselfly but amazing experience and well captured :-)