Paul Spear has pictured this recently emerged Black-tailed Skimmer at Whixall Moss showing the distinctive black and yellow abdominal markings seen in both females and immature males. He also saw numerous Four-spotted Chaser, blue damselflies, White-faced Darter (below left) and spotted this rare ‘not-so-large-red’ damselfly (below right)! Elsewhere Jan Shields has been enjoying time out at her garden pond and has sent in Banded Demoiselles in cop (far below left) and a great picture of Large Red (the complete specimen!) and Azure Damselfly in the same shot…clearly not observing social distancing!
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Paul Spear has been out and about in the sunshine at Coalbrookdale and taken some glorious photos. The male Banded Demoiselle (left) looks stunning when captured with all 4 wings visible- leaving us in no doubt about the bands! Clubtails (below left) were also there in reasonable numbers along with the first Blue-tailed Damselflies. Paul also took this photo (below right) of a male Common Blue Damselfly in flight showing clearly the broad antehumeral stripes, the ‘mushroom shape’ on segment 2 of the abdomen and the solid blue at the end of the abdomen. Broad-bodied Chasers are also very much on the wing at the moment- the male photographed by Paul (far below left) and the female photographed by Jan Shields (far below right) at Snailbeach Reservoir- a stunning insect!
I’m always thrilled when dragons and damsels emerge from our own pond, but I’d be exceedingly happy if like Yvonne from Cross Houses I had a regular emergence of Emperor Dragonflies! Yvonne has seen many Emperors emerge from her pond (illustrated here by the collected exuviae) and though many have taken their maiden flight under the cover of darkness or very early in the morning, Yvonne was lucky enough to spot a ‘late riser’ completing the process.
Jim Almond has also been observing comings and goings on his pool and sent in these fantastic photos of Large Red Damselflies (far left) and Azure Damselflies (near left) in tandem. A photo of a tandem pair is always a great chance to directly compare the male and female of each species, the female always having a broader abdomen.
Jan Shields has been to Mousecroft Pool near Shrewsbury and has managed to grab 2 quick photos of 2 different species of blue damselfly – both new to our list for 2020. Common Blue Damselfly is seen far left with characteristic broad blue antehumeral (shoulder) stripes- far broader than those seen on Blue-tailed Damselfly (near left). If you enlarge the Blue-tailed Damselfly photo you can also make out the characteristic bi-coloured pterostigma- wing spots with flashes of both black and white.
Peter Roberts has amazingly recorded this female White-faced Darter on his garden furniture in Woore! This rare species is (usually!) only recorded at Whixall Moss in Shropshire where there are ample acidic bog pools full of sphagnum. This may well be a random odd record though it is some distance from Whixall Moss and this species is not known for it’s dispersal capabilities. Please keep your eyes open for any more strange sightings in an already bizarre year!
Sam Rees has sent in these great shots of Common Clubtail seen in Doctor’s Field on the River Severn in Shrewsbury. The close up left shows the clearly separated eyes – the only dragonfly (as opposed to damselfly) in the UK to have this diagnostic character. This sighting should herald a good 2/3 weeks of this species emerging from the River Severn in Shrewsbury.
Elsewhere Stephen Barlow is still enjoying White-faced Darters emerging on Whixall Moss- a teneral male shown below just on the brink of maturing from yellowish to red. Jan Shields has also sent in 2 more great photos of Beautiful Demoiselle -a nice comparison of the male (far below left) and female (far below right). Notice it is only the female that has a splash of white on the wings- the pseudopterostigma.
Well we haven’t seen it, but there’s proof right here! Yvonne from Cross Houses has sent in these great exuvia shots- complete with measurements. The Emperor exuvia is really unlike anything else in this country in terms of head and eye shape and sheer size! The Lesser Emperor is very similar, but still such a rare migrant I’m 100% sure this is our resident species Emperor Dragonfly -the largest dragonfly species in the UK.
Cecilia Young has sent in some lovely emergence shots of Broad-bodied Chaser taken at her garden pond near Oswestry – presumably just before this cold snap. Over 30 exuviae were found which makes me very jealous as I still await any dragonfly emergence from my pond! The last photo in the sequence shows clearly the antehumeral (shoulder) stripes and broad flattened body shape of this species.