Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Possible Migrant Hawker

Had a possible Migrant Hawker at Garnock East today - 'possible' because I only watched it for about 30 seconds. After having made hundreds of sightings of Common Hawker at the site over the summer, this insect's behaviour immediately struck me as being different from your typical Common Hawker: it zoomed back and forth only a few inches above a brackish saltmarsh pool, changed it's altitude significantly a few times in a very short space of time, often reching quite a height, and was much more graceful in flight than your average Common Hawler - i.e. it didn't move like a'rigid toy aeroplane' the way Common Hawker does. Moreover, my immediate impression when first laying eyes on the insect was that it was a darter - it took me a couple of seconds to realise it was a hawker. Unsually when I see Common Hawker there's no mistaking it for a darter. As with last year's Migrant Hawker, the size difference between this individual and Common Hawker was very apparent.

Annoyingly, the insect flew off after about half a minute, before I could get a satisfactory look at is - so I shan't submit it as a definite record.

On the butterfly front, things have, of course, quietened down. The 'Painted Lady' explosion never really happened around the Ardeer area, with 6 butterflies along a 300m stretch of track at Garnock East a few eeks ago the highest count I made. I've noticed quite a few Red Admirals flying about since the fine weather started. Yesterday, 3 were nectaring on Aster beside the upper Garnock estuary. A couple of Painted Ladies were at the Ardeer Brownfield land too, along with a worn Small Copper. Another Small Copper was at Ardeer Fen.

On Sunday, a Common Blue was still on the wing at the Ardeer Brownfield land.

Today, a sunny patch of Sedums in a garden in my street in Stevesnton had 3 Red Admirals, a Peacock, a Small Tortoiseshell, and a Painted Lady.

(Photo: Red Admiral on Aster)