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First dragons on the wing!

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Four-spotted Chaser
Large Red Damselfly

Stephen Barlow has spotted an early dragonfly at Whixall Moss on Saturday 22nd April. The Four-spotted Chaser is seen in his photo on the far left with four spots clearly visible on the wings and dark patches of pigment at the base of the wings- characteristic of the Chasers. Stephen also saw many more Large Red Damselflies in a sheltered sunny spot including this individual having a spot of light lunch!

First sighting for 2017!

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Large Red Damselfly male

Just as frost is forecast for tonight I hear from Warwick Davies in Oswestry that a Large Red Damselfy flew from his pond in Oswestry today. This means the Shropshire flight season is underway which is great news! Keep me posted with sightings and all photos very welcome. Warwick was taken by surprise and without camera so I’ve just added a lovely photo of this species taken by G. Hiatt last year -just to whet the appetite!

Spring has sprung!

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Amazingly April is nearly upon us and with that should come the first Large Red Damselflies of 2017- usually mid-late April but if  it’s warm (?!) it could be sooner. As we await the first sightings there’s a great opportunity to get to grips with larvae and exuviae on Sat 8th April at Preston Montford FSC -full details on the event page. It should be a fun and challenging day and a really good way to know what’s actually breeding in your pond. So if you ‘d like to be able to identify all these exuviae (photographed by Andy Cutts) and more then please book a place and come along.

Calling all records…

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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!

Late sightings…

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Common Darter are still putting in the odd appearance – last seen by Jan Shields at Mousecroft Pool near Shrewsbury on 21st October. Jan also came face to face with a Migrant Hawker earlier this month and snapped this lovely shot.

Still on the wing…

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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.

October Record

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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…

Will there be any October records?

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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!