• Barbara Copperthwaite

It's hard work but someone's got to do it...

As I sat down on the bank of the stream, hot sun beating down on me while my feet cooled in a clear, babbling stream, I couldn’t help pondering how very lucky I was. Here I was, looking as if I wasn’t doing a thing…when actually I was hard at work nature-watching.

In the stream, playing around my bare feet, were tiny water shrimps. Beside me a flash of brilliant orange came fluttering then gliding, fluttering then gliding , until the Comma finally settled on some leaves within touching distance of me. On the other side of me were several Gatekeepers that had decided to rest in the grass. With their orange and brown wings closed, and only their duller underwing on show, it was amazing how hard they were to spot amongst the odd pieces of dry, yellowing blades.

Yesterday had been a particularly good day for seeing Gatekeepers for some reason, and there were far more than I’ve seen so far this year in Highbury Park, all gathered on a bank of Knapweed. That was until a nosey, territorial Speckled Wood or two would blunder over to them and chase them away! I saw more Large Whites too, as mainly this year I seem to have seen Small Whites.

But I digress. Today had a new treat in store. Finally cooled enough to continue walking (having waited for my feet to dry in the sun, which took mere minutes) I suddenly saw a dragonfly. A decent size, pale brown…I’d hazard it was a Common Darter. As I was watching it in the distance, a flash of movement above my head, at almost treetop height, caught my eye. Another dragonfly, this time much larger, and a sort of rusty brown in the sunlight, which also made the wings shine pale amber. It was the coloured wings that gave the game away: a Brown Hawker, unless I am much mistaken. I’m afraid this spectacular sight took all of my attention, its smaller relative quickly forgotten about as I watched it zipping around for several minutes before I lost sight of it all together.

As I wondered home, happy once again, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for those who earn a living trapped in an office…

#butterfly #comma #commondarter #dragonfly #gatekeeper #kingsheath #kingsheath #largewhitebutterfly

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