Stephen Barlow has sent in this stunning landscape of Whixall Moss with snow on the distant hills and ice on the ponds! Who’d have thought on the same day (10th Nov) he would see the 3 individuals pictured below. Basking in a sheltered suntrap were a male Black Darter (left) and a male (centre) and female (right) Common Darter. Great late records…so keep an eye out on the offchance!
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A sunny Sunday (27th Oct) revealed Black Darter (male left) and Common Darter (female below) still on the wing at Whixall Moss. Stephen Barlow’s pic of the female Common Darter shows clearly the diagnostic yellow stripe on the black legs and the lack of a frons side line (long moustache) on the frons.
A sunny but cool day on Whixall Moss (16th Oct) rewarded Stephen Barlow with a reasonable number of late summer sightings. Seeking out the sheltered basking spots Stephen photographed a nice collection of Black Darter and male Common Hawker -the latter enlarged in the photo on the right. Other people on the moss were also reporting Migrant Hawker and possibly Southern Hawker and Common Darter out and about. The longevity of the flight season is totally weather dependent, but keep an eye out and lets see if we can wing it into November…
Monsoon conditions today, but last weeks wonderful weather brought the late summer dragons out and about. Jan Shields described a ‘Dragon Fest’ at Snailbeach where large numbers of ovipositing Common Darter (left) were covering the whole of one edge of the reservoir. Southern Hawker (below left) were also present in good numbers along with Brown Hawker, Ruddy Darter and Emerald Damselflies. An earlier visit to Mousecroft Pool also revealed a good number of Migrant Hawkers also on the wing (male below middle, female below right).
The recent hot spell has brought in some fabulous photos; firstly this male Migrant Hawker in flight taken by Jan Shields at Mousecroft Pool near Shrewsbury and secondly (below) a beautiful shot of a female Brown Hawker ovipositing taken by Mick Richardson at Priorslee Flash, Telford. It’s always interesting to see how dragonflies can tuck their legs so neatly away in flight.
Jan Shields has been enjoying the Keeled Skimmers up at Crammer Gutter on Catherton Common. This species is a real habitat specialist being found on boggy flushes and runnels on some of our Shropshire heathland. Both males (left) and females (below left) have noticeable ochre coloured pterostigma and antehumeral stripes. Jan also got 2 nice shots of tandem pairs and far below left you can clearly see the female legs which can often rub off the blue coloration on the male abdomen during mating. Golden-ringed Dragonflies were also at Crammer Gutter and Black Darters- the smallest dragonfly in the UK.
Mick Richardson has sent in some stunning photos including yet another sighting of our new Shropshire species for 2019; Small Red-eyed Damselfly. Mick saw 10+ individuals at Green Pond near Albrighton and new immediately what they were as he is normally resident in Southern Spain where they are regular visitors to his own pond. Mick also sent in the photos below of Emerald Damselfly (left) and Azure Damselfly (right), the Azure being really quite a late record for this species in Shropshire.
John Barratt has been observing Brown Hawkers on the wing at Cricklade and sent in these interesting pics. Males are often seen curling up the end of the abdomen in the process of transferring sperm, but here we have the female apparently mimicking the action. Discussing this with Bob Kemp reveals he has witnessed this behaviour in several of the hawker females and it is most likely a deterrent to the pursuing male. Another interesting tack to take having heard last year about female Common Hawkers dropping out of the sky and feigning death to avoid mating!
Jan Shields has sent in some great pics of our high summer species seen at Snailbeach and at Mousecroft Pool in Shrewsbury. This Common Darter male (left) shows the diagnostic striped legs and antehumeral stripes. Below left Ruddy Darters can be seen in tandem, the male and female having solid black legs and no antehumeral stripes- rather a black T shape on the thorax. Below right are Emerald Damselflies in tandem showing how much narrower the male abdomen is in comparison to the female. The bottom 2 photos show hawker females ovipositing; a close up of the Brown Hawker (left) and the Southern Hawker (right).