Stephen Barlow has been seeking out more early November Common Darters finding them in sun traps on Whixall Moss. Interestingly Stephen points out that due to the low sun at this time of year a northerly wind (though colder) can improve your chances of success as dragonflies can find sun traps that are both out of the wind and in the sun. When southerlies are blowing, the shelter from the wind is usually on the opposite side to the suntrap.
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Despite the recent hard frosts Stephen Barlow is still seeing a reasonable number of species lurking in the warmer spots on Whixall Moss. These pics of a female Migrant Hawker (left), Black Darter (below left) and Common Darter (below right) were all taken on 18th October, but Stephen has seen Common Darters flying on the 28th and 31st (Halloween!) October. With things warming a little we should definitely get a few hardy November records.
Stephen Barlow reports Black Darter and Migrant Hawker still on the wing at Whixall Moss last week as well as Common Hawker – a female seen here with a very parallel sided abdomen, not waisted as in the male.
Please do keep us posted with any late sightings- Shropshire dragonflies have flown into November before….lets just see what happens after a cold weekend…
Jan Shields has been enjoying our late summer species at Mousecroft Pool including a number of Darters and Hawkers. The female in this pair of Migrant Hawkers illustrates the long anal appendages typical of this species. Below is a lovely picture of an ovipositing Southern Hawker and if you look closely you can see the blade like ovipositor cutting in to the plant.
Dawn Balmer has been visiting the Stiperstones area and The Bog Pool and enjoying 2 of our late summer species in all their glory! This stunning male Emerald Damselfly really lives up to it’s name with the sun catching the thorax. Below is pictured a male Black Darter showing a textbook waisted abdomen and fabulous black colouration.
Migrant Hawker finally confirmed on the wing and seen here by Jan Shields both at Whixall Moss and at Mousecroft Pool near Shrewsbury. Jan’s photos show clearly the reduced antehumeral stripes on the male thorax and you can just about make out the diagnostic ‘golf tee’ shape at the top of the abdomen on the in flight shot (below right). Jan has also been enjoying Brown and Common Hawkers, Emperors and Common and Black Darters (far below right) at Whixall Moss despite many dry pools. Emerald Damselfly (far below left) also seem to be surviving the heat and Jan recorded these unusually also at Mousecroft Pool.
David Goodwin has been in touch reporting over 60 Southern Hawker exuviae from his garden pond pictured below. David is based in Staffordshire, but such a focus on these ‘proof of breeding’ records deserves special mention! David has seen around 5 adults emerge from the pond, but the far greater number of exuviae clearly show how much activity there has been. It’s also a great reminder to check vegetation for exuviae, and indeed walls and fences as they can travel some distance!
Amazingly this discreet rare Shropshire species has been seen at another new site! – this time Titterstone Clee Hill, recorded by Jason Kernohan along with Common Hawkers and Azure, Blue-tailed, Common Blue and Emerald Damselflies. The recorded male is pictured left clearly showing the diagnostic ochre coloured pterostigma. It would appear that Keeled Skimmer is having an interesting year so definitely keep an eye out for these unobtrusive fliers in acidic upland flush areas.
I was teaching a dragonfly ID course last weekend and we were out with nets in the torrid heat at Wildmoor Pool when one of the participants Carol Harvey caught a dragonfly. I removed it expecting to see a Black Darter and brilliantly it was a Keeled Skimmer- great catch Carol! Jennifer Lucas took these clear photos which have also enabled me to ask Bob Kemp to verify it- mainly because it was a fairly old and drab specimen and also because it’s the first record at Wildmoor Pool which is heavily recorded. There is a population some distance from the pool so it remains to be seen if this was an accidental occurrence or if they are establishing a second population…