Has spring really sprung? There’s certainly a huge amount of activity in my garden pond and the larvae are on the move, but no reports yet of the first Shropshire sighting. Thought I’d just post a taster (taken by Stephen Barlow last year) so we can all remember what Large Red Damselflies look like after what feels like a rather long winter! Fingers crossed the 2018 flight season should be upon us any day now…
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Out walking in the sunshine today and was convinced there was just a hint of spring in the air! I also received a fabulous photo taken last year by one of our recorders and I had to post it – a stunning view of Black-tailed Skimmer in cop. Just a taster of things to come in the 2018 flight season…expected to commence sometime in April…
A new year and a new County Recorder! I’m really pleased to be handing over the role to Vicky Nall who will now be keeping an eye on our Shropshire Dragonflies and very keen to receive all your records. I’ll still be managing this website and updating the flight season blog with all your fabulous photos and sightings as well as teaching a number of dragonfly courses. Bring on the spring!
Records have been coming in from Dudmaston and Whixall Moss right up to the end of October. This makes me hopeful that fireworks won’t be the only things whizzing through the skies in November…and we could be on for some really late records! Stephen Barlow saw this old Brown Hawker on 26th October and the Common Darter (below left)…just a few miles over the border in Cheshire. Back in Shropshire at Whixall Moss he has also regularly seen Black Darter (below centre (male) and right(female)) and Common Darter and Common Hawker -all still flying on 29th October. Keep me posted on the late comers….
A magnificent Migrant Hawker seen by Stephen Barlow enjoying the autumnal sunshine at Whixall Moss. Stephen also photographed female Common Darter (below left) and Black Darter (below right) -both fairly over mature drab individuals making them reasonably well camouflaged in their surroundings. That said you can still see the diagnostic black triangle on top of the Black Darter’s thorax.
Amazingly we’re zipping through October and haven’t turned the heating on yet…and that can only be good for dragonflies! Stephen Barlow reports that good numbers of Black Darter are still on the wing at Whixall Moss along with sightings of Common Darter, Common Hawker and Southern Hawker. I’ve also been sent some fabulous photos from one of our recorders which will hopefully inspire a few of you to keep an eye out for late fliers this autumn. Pictured left is a superb close up of Brown Hawker.
Above left shows Southern Hawker in flight with legs neatly tucked away and broad antehumeral stripes clearly visible. The Emperor above also illustrates the leg position in flight as well as showing the clear yellow costa on the wings.
The final photo of 3 Emerald Damselflies is interesting -a male attached to a male attached to a female!? At least they are all holding their wings at 45 degrees which is textbook!
Good to hear a few of you have been visiting Cramer Gutter and enjoying the Keeled Skimmers. David Goodwin took these lovely photos of the male (left) and female- looking rather drab and probably ‘over mature’ when the colours can become quite dark. David also saw Golden Ringed still on the wing and a good number of Common Darter as seen below (right). Jan Shields took a great shot of Keeled Skimmer eyes and also saw Golden Ringed, Common Darter, Migrant Hawker and the fabulous Southern Hawker shown below.
Incidentally, David tried to find Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly on Titterstone Clee Hill to no avail. To date I have received no species records for this rarity this year and they still may just be about….
An interesting mix of Hawker sightings following this weekend. Jan Shields has sent in this lovely photo of Migrant hawker in flight at Mousecroft Pool near Shrewsbury -clearly showing the diagnostic reduced antehumeral stripes and golf tee shape at the top of the abdomen. David Williams also sent in the 2 photos below; an interesting female Southern Hawker (left) with unusually blue spots on the abdomen and a dare devil Common Blue Damselfly taking a relaxing break on the back of an ovipositing Brown Hawker!
Migrant Hawker has finally been spotted on the Shropshire side of Whixall Moss on 15th August by Stephen Barlow. Stephen also reports good numbers of Common Darter now on the wing and I can certainly confirm that from my garden pond in Shrewsbury. Darting around elsewhere (sorry!) Ron Parnell has taken this lovely shot of Black Darters in cop up at Pole Cottage Pools on the Long Mynd.