I recently emailed dragonfly recorders asking for 2016 records and received this lovely photo from Gareth Thomas of a Spotted Flycatcher with unlucky Banded Demoiselle! Caught last June apparently on the nearby Teme and carried to Gareth’s Ludlow garden. In the absence of any recent sightings I couldn’t resist posting it…and it also gives me another chance to say if you do have any dragonfly records please send them my way by Christmas and then I can sort them all and write the newsletter. Thank you!
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Good to hear several sightings of Common Darter were made on 15th October; 30 plus individuals seen basking on the rocks near Bayston Hill quarry by Peta Sams and a number also recorded by Stephen Barlow at Whixall Moss- shown here. A closer look reveals some interesting leg positions -whether the first individual was photographed before folding his legs up or whether there was something wrong I’m not sure.
Stephen also saw Common Hawker and Black Darter- the latter seen basking on a variety of locations including his lunch box. The photograph on the far left also appears to show a male Common Darter in tandem with a female Black Darter which is unusual. Common Darter females will become darker in coloration as they over mature, but this female definitely seems to lack the diagnostic striped legs of Common Darter and also has a prominent vulvar scale pointing downward toward the end of the abdomen- typical of Black Darter.
Having just asked the question regarding later records this sighting of a female Migrant Hawker at Colemere was sent in by Sue Loose. Even from a distance the diagnostic yellow ‘T’ shape can be visible on segment 2 of the abdomen and the long anal appendages are noticeable. Let’s hope the late sunshine lasts…
Just a few more darters (seen by Stephen Barlow) basking on the post below at Whixall Moss. Having just dug our own garden pond I was looking forward to it filling with rainwater, but it appears to have brought on an Indian Summer! This could be good news for a few later records…even if I’m left with a dry hole in the garden!
Stephen Barlow has been investigating the wall of a battery shed for the Second World War Strategic Starfish Site at Whixall Moss- and found a good number of dragonflies basking in the early autumn sunshine! These Starfish Sites were apparently set up as a decoy to pull German bombers away from larger target areas. Click on the photo for a closer look and see if you can spot the Common Hawker, Common Darter and several Black Darters.
Stephen Barlow reports that Hawkers are now fewer in number up at Whixall Moss, but his photo of one of the few is stunning! This Common Hawker can clearly be seen keeping it’s head level in flight as the rest of the body twists. This is achieved through a system of sensitive hairs present on the back of the head and neck. What a fabulous photo!
Some lovely photos of Common Hawker in flight taken by Stephen Barlow. The female is seen here on the left with a far stockier body and very reduced antehumeral stripes, and the male is shown below with his waisted abdomen and prominent narrow antehumeral stripes. Both the male and female show the prominent yellow costa -the leading vein of the wing.
I often think wouldn’t it be great if the ancient ancestors of dragonflies with wingspans over 70cm were still flying around. Robin Ellis has spotted this specimen near Shrewsbury with a wingspan probably more like 7 m! I think it was spotted at the Shrewsbury Flower Show earlier this year….unless there are 2…