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Keeled Skimmer at Whixall Moss

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Whixall Moss has historically produced a few suspected sightings of Keeled Skimmer, the photographic proof being provided by Lee Wilkinson back in 2013. All has been quiet-ish since then…again with a number of possible unconfirmed reports-until now. Stephen Barlow has seen several possible sightings this year and photographed this male seen here on the left. This hopefully indicates that this species is resident and successfully breeding at Whixall Moss so keep us posted on any more sightings. Just be aware that Black-tailed Skimmer is also blue and medium sized and resident at Whixall as picture below (male left, female right).

White-faced Darter season draws to a close

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Stephen Barlow has sent in a couple of photos illustrating the last days of the White-faced Darter flight season. Whilst other species such as Emerald Damselflies and Black Darters are on the rise, the remaining White-faced Darters are narrowly avoiding being eaten by birds (below) and not avoiding being eaten by magnificent Diving Beetles (left)!

Elsewhere, Jan Shields has been enjoying Common Hawkers at Carding Mill Valley (below). How anyone manages to get these stunning in flight photos is beyond me…especially for a species described as ‘relentlessly on the wing’!

And the heat goes on…

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One hot day after another- quite incredible! Jan Shields has been observing numerous Ruddy Darters basking in the sun’s rays at Venus Pool and sent in this fabulous shot of a mating pair. The photo below left also shows a male with solid black legs distinguishing him from Common Darters with a yellow stripe running down the legs. Jan also recorded this Emperor (below right) who on closer inspection is showing several signs of wear and tear!

At the end of June, Jan was lucky enough to see not five, but at least six Golden Ringed Dragonflies at Carding Mill Valley!

Furry Lunch…

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Lee Wilkinson has sent in this lovely photo of a Golden Ringed Dragonfly getting it’s jaws into a rather furry lunch up at Wildmoor Pool.

Paul Spear has also sent in some great photos of a male Emperor Dragonfly in full flight and a female ovipositing at Prees Heath.

Following the photo of a Common Hawker exuvia we now have evidence of the adults in flight with this picture of a female taken by Stephen Barlow at Whixall Moss. The female body is far more robust and parallel sided than the waisted abdomen seen in the male.

3 new species on the wing!

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One week away enjoying the gales and rain of Norway and so much happens! All this fabulous weather has encouraged 3 more species onto the wing. Ruddy Darter has been recorded and beautifully photographed by Paul Spear at Venus Pools. The male (left) clearly illustrates why this species is so named with it’s vibrant blood red colour and the female is shown below. Stephen Barlow has also seen the first Southern Hawkers on the wing at Whixall Moss. His picture (below right) clearly shows the broad antehumeral stripes on this immature male. Stephen has also photographed the first Black Darters at Whixall Moss (far below left) not to be confused with a few old White-faced Darters still hanging on in ever decreasing numbers.

Evidence Of Common Hawker…

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Jason Kernohan has been on the trail of the aptly named Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly on Titterstone Clee Hill. Sadly to no avail this time, but he did find the first evidence of Common Hawker emerging this season with this fabulous exuviae. Don’t forget they are the best records to get as they are proof of successful breeding. I’m really enjoying all the exuviae emerging from our relatively new pond this year- up to about 25 Common Darter so far!

Brown Hawker on the wing

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Brown Hawker has been recorded at Prees Heath Common and is seen (albeit fairly well camouflaged) ovipositing in this photograph taken by Stephen Barlow. Also recorded on this visit were Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Azure Damselfly, Emperor Dragonflies and Black-tailed Skimmers.

A lack of personal space…

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Jan Shields has sent in a lovely photo of a Red-eyed Damselfly annoying a female Emperor Dragonfly whilst ovipositing at Mousecroft Pool. I’m not sure why some damselflies do this- please get in touch if you have any ideas! Elsewhere in Church Stretton, Graham Wenman captured this pair of Large Red Damselflies in tandem….being chaperoned (unsuccessfully it would seem) by a fly. Seeing the male and female together really shows how much broader the female body is, allowing the capacity to carry eggs.  Jan Shields was also lucky enough to see an ‘out of place’ White-legged Damselfly in her garden…presumably nowhere near a stream.

2 more species on the wing!

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James Gloyn has had a successful trip to Crammer Gutter and sent in our first 2018 photos of Golden-ringed Dragonfly (left) and Keeled Skimmer (below). Stephen Barlow also had a possible sighting of Keeled Skimmer on Whixall Moss a few days ago though unconfirmed at this stage…

Emerald Damselfly on the wing

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Stephen Barlow has recorded the first Emerald Damselflies on the wing this year at Whixall Moss. He spotted several tenerals including this one pictured left. Elsewhere Jan Shields has been enjoying Beautiful Demoiselles at Shawbury Heath photographing the male (below left) and female (below right), along with Broad-bodied Chasers (female far below left) and Four-spotted Chasers. Jan is also keeping a close eye on  Mousecroft Pool where she saw the 2 Red-eyed Damselflies pictured bottom right, along with Four-spotted Chasers and an Emperor who made a sharp exit!