10.30 a.m.: A dragonfly lands on the wall of the bridge over the River Porter at Langsett Reservoir giving me the chance to take a quick blurred snapshot before it flies off again. I draw from the photograph to try and fix the details in my mind before attempting to identify it.
It’s a hawker, possibly a male common hawker, Aeshna juncea. The male has a slender ‘waist’ at the top of the abdomen, which I’ve thickened up a bit in my drawing. Its colours are muted; it can take a few days for the bright colours to develop. It’s larvae develop in bog pools and on the coast they can tolerate brackish water.
Oak Eggar Caterpillar
Up on the moor at Hingcliff Common, the caterpillar of the oak eggar moth, Lasiocampa quercus, is crawling along at the side of the path. Despite the name, the caterpillar doesn’t feed on oak; here on the moor it is likely to be feeding on heather or bilberry plants. The red-brown male moths fly on sunny days during the summer but the paler female is nocturnal.