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Clouds of Banded Demoiselles…

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Female Banded Dem JShields

Between the more predictable clouds of rain at the weekend Jan Shields was fortunate to see ‘clouds of Banded Demoiselles’ on the River Severn in Shrewsbury. A male (left) and female are shown here with the white pseudopterostigma (false wing spot) just visible on the female.

Male clubtail JShields
male clubtail JShields

Jan also saw some Clubtails – this fabulous shot showing a rather large Mayfly lunch being devoured by a male! (don’t forget you can click on the images to see a larger copy). The photo on the far left also nicely illustrates the clubbed tail of the males giving this species it’s common name.

Azures finding a sunny spot…

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Andy Beech has sent in this lovely shot of Azure Damselflies in cop near Shrewsbury. The photo clearly shows the coenagrion spur on the side of the thorax in the male and female and also the black U shape on segment 2 of the male abdomen.

Eye-dentification tip…

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Gvulgatissimus female JShields

Pardon the pun, but Jan Shields has sent in this lovely close up of a female Common Clubtail and it’s the ideal opportunity to mention that this is the only species of dragonfly (as opposed to damselfly) in the UK with a gap between the eyes – all others showing some degree of contact. The same is true of the male Clubtail. Th e second photo also shows how stocky and parallel sided the female abdomen is – in stark contrast to the male abdominal shape which gives the species it’s common name.

Gvulgatissimus JShields

Clubtail emerging

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Having got sidetracked by Banded Demoiselles I forgot to post this fabulous picture taken by Andy Beech of a Clubtail emerging in Shrewsbury yesterday. I also saw an individual emerging and came face to face with an adult male…but true to form my photos weren’t a patch on this!

2 new species on the wing

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More sunshine and a quick cycle out around Shrewsbury resulted in seeing Red-eyed Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly -both firsts for me this season. What’s more I even managed to photograph the teneral Blue-tailed Damselfly seen here.

Clubtails and Demoiselles…

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The great thing about us all going looking for Clubtails is finding other species too. David Goodwin firstly spotted a Banded Demoiselle on 11th May near Melverley (whilst looking for Clubtails) followed by myself and then Andy Beech each seeing Demoiselles on the R.Severn in Shrewsbury (whilst looking for Clubtails). Andy took these lovely photos of the exuvia and newly emerged adult. And then David Williams spotted this fabulous male yesterday in Coalport ….would you believe whilst looking for Clubtails!

Csplendens A Beech
csplendens ABeech

Clubtails emerging in Shrewsbury!

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Gomphus SReesEvans

Having heard it was worth checking for Common Clubtail I popped down to the River Severn in Shrewsbury this evening and was rewarded with 13 exuviae which was a great start. These were all found in the middle of town where the river runs through the Quarry park. Apologies as ever for photo quality…just really for proof!

Predators on the wing…

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Stonechat and fourspot SBarlow
stonechat and fourspot larva SBarlow

Stephen Barlow has sent in some stunning photos of Stonechats feeding on Four-spotted Chasers up at Whixall Moss. Stephen reports that in this pair the female seems far more successful in gathering food for the young than the male and she is pictured here both with an unfortunate larva ( presumably intending to emerge!) and a full adult.

Hobby and Large Red SBarlow
Hobby and Large Red SBarlow

Hobbies were also putting in an appearance and the close ups of the talons on this predator as it approaches an unfortunate Large Red Damselfly are spectacular!

First blue damselflies seen…

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female azure SBarlow

Again Whixall Moss is coming up trumps for first sightings….this time a few female Azure Damselflies seen on 5th May by Stephen Barlow. This lovely shot shows the narrow antehumeral stripes and coenagrion spur (spur on side of thorax) that help identify this species. The female is however very similar to the Variable Damselfly female and you need to take a close look at the shape of the pronotum to distinguish the two….see the species pages for further details.

A small but successful pond!

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Pnymphula GWenman

Graham Wenman has sent in some lovely photos of Large Red Damselfly emerging from his pond – a 2ft x 3 ft pond proving that even small bodies of water can be really productive and great for wildlife!