Thursday, 23 July 2015

22nd July Minions

One of the trips that I'd been wanting to do this week was an excursion up to Bodmin Moor to try to see the poorly-named Common Hawker, sadly anything but common in actuality and which is more aptly called the Moorland Hawker on the continent. I'd been told that the old quarry near the Cheesering Tor at Minions was a good site so I'd been keeping a keen eye on the weather forecast all week. The plan was that my VLW and our two daughters would be dropped off at Lelant Saltings so that they could take the train to St. Ives for the day whilst our son and I would head of dragonfly hunting. Wednesday had been looking like the best day but on the morning itself the forecast suddenly changed from calm with sunny intervals to something more changeable and breezy. However, in the end we decided as a family to carry on with our original plan so the girls were duly dropped off at around midday whilst the men folk headed off to Minions.

Looking across towards the Cheeserings from the quarry

We arrived a little over an hour later, somewhat longer than I'd originally estimated which was making our four o'clock rendezvous in St. Ives to pick the girls up again look a little unlikely, especially when we realised that there was a long walk of getting on for half an hour before one actually reached the quarry. L and I therefore yomped at full speed along the track, spotting little more than a total of three Wheatears as we went. The quarry itself turned out to be surprisingly pretty, with lovely clear blue-tinted water fully of small Rudd and a couple of Goldfish (where had they come from?) with lots of wild flowers around the edge in amongst the rocks.

L and I immediately set about the task of looking for dragonflies. There were quite a few Common Blue Damselflies and a few Large Reds about and a single male Emperor Dragonfly but there was no sign of anything else. We were sharing the site with a young family out on a picnic and the happy cries of the children there echoed around the quarry as we searched. Whilst in a couple of places it was rather sheltered, much of the area was rather breezy and a bit chilly and I wondered whether it might simply be too windy for the Hawkers to be flying. Time passed, the family left only to be replaced by a couple of young men complete with a carrier bag full of beer and a music player blasting heavy rock music.Now whilst I'm partial to a bit of heavy rock at times it could not have been more incongruous a setting and I couldn't help but wonder how these two could be so ignorant of the rugged beauty of this location that they felt the need to fill it with noise. 

One of the Rudd

Some Purple Irises growing by the side of the quarry

Despite the noise we kept on searching but the best we could come up with was a brief sighting of what looked like a female Emperor with not a single Hawker to be seen. Defeated, in the end we ran out of time and headed back along the path towards the car park. On the way I took snaps of any interesting flowers and butterflies that I could find.

One of the Eyebright species - probably Common but they're hard to tell apart
A couple of fledgling Ravens
I originally got rather excited when I found this Skipper, thinking that it looked like a Silver-spotted. When I got home I looked it up and apparently they aren't found in the South West at all and on closer inspection it turned out to be a rather worn Large Skipper with the hooked tips to the antennae giving it away

Back at the car I sent a text to the other party saying that I probably wasn't going to arrive until about 4:30 p.m. and we set off. En route I realised that I'd forgotten to factor in the time to drive from Lelant up to St. Ives for the rendezvous and I also needed to stop off to buy some petrol so sent a "running late" text. In the end it was more like 5 pm by the time we got there for the pick-up but they'd been to a café for tea whilst waiting so were happy enough. Then it was back home via Sainsbury's for a top-up shop. That evening as it was Wednesday it was quiz night at the Radjel Inn so we treated ourselves to a meal there as well and upheld our tradition of common last in the quiz. Then it was back to the cottage where we all soon tumbled into bed, tired out from our respective days, albeit a rather disappointing one for me at least.

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