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!
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Stephen Barlow has recently spotted Red-eyed Damselflies at Whixall Moss -the first records at this location since 1986! As Stephen points out they have probably drifted across from the nearby canal -a more typical recording area for this species. The lower photo shows not only a lovely reflection, but a direct comparison with the Common Blue Damselfly sitting directly below the Red-eyed- a good chance to practice spot the difference!
The sun keeps shining and the photos keep coming! Stuart Bolt has been back to Sainsburys in Telford..not for shopping I hasten to add, but for Emperor Dragonflies (left). Elsewhere Ron Parnell has been enjoying Broad-bodied Chasers in Church Stretton and sent in this lovely shot of an immature male (below left) showing the blue pruinescence creeping up the abdomen. Jan Shields has had an interesting sighting of a female White-legged Damselfly (below right) at Radbrook pond in Shrewsbury. This species is under close observation by the BDS due to a suspected decline in some areas -not in Shropshire it would appear…though usually seen on rivers and canals not ponds. And lastly, Tim Preston has been observing White-legged Damselflies in more usual habitat on the River Severn along with Common Clubtails- 2 great photos shown below.
Paul Spear has been enjoying beautiful Beautiful (below left) and Banded (left) Demoiselles at Venus Pool. A female demoiselle is also seen (below right) though I’m not stating Banded or Beautiful as they are far harder to tell apart than the males. The photo clearly shows her legs which are covered in long setae (hairs) to enable her to secure large prey.
Tim Preston recently saw a good number of species at Big Pool, Dudmaston; Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers, Banded Demoiselles, Azure Damselflies and Red-eyed and Blue-tailed Damselflies having a close encounter in this stunning shot. Tim also saw Black-tailed Skimmers and took this photo below of a male just starting to show the blue pruinescence that covers the abdomen in maturity- masking the yellow and black pattern seen in imatures.
Jan Shields has sent in an interesting photo of a Common Blue Damselfly taken at Mousecroft pool near Shrewsbury. The damselfly is clearly covered in a good number of mites seen around the thorax. These are fairly common place and can appear in far larger numbers than seen here. Some mites will actually transfer from the larva onto the adult as it emerges taking up position before the exoskeleton hardens.
Jan Shields has been enjoying White-faced Darters both at Whixall Moss and Chartley Moss and has sent in these lovely emergence shots and a fabulous adult male. Jan also saw Four-spotted Chasers (bottom left) and on a later date followed Tim Preston’s advice re Broad-bodied Chasers at Shawbury Heath -and was rewarded with the great shot below right. Really good to know people are getting some useful tips from the flight season blog.
Finally a few pictures from my own pond in Shrewsbury showing Common Darter emerging. I spent far too long this morning trying to rescue a failed emergence before suddenly spotting another 4 more successful attempts proceeding on various plants and fence posts….and another 4 or 5 exuviae discarded from earlier events. Chris Johnson has also sent in a photo of Red-eyed Damselfly (below right) seen this spring at Aston Locks.
A very exciting bank holiday as my relatively new pond here in Shrewsbury yielded it’s first exuvia on Monday- an early Common Darter. And just to underline the success, a second emerged this morning and I saw the teneral’s maiden flight a while later. Sadly no photos, and none either of the Emperor spotted by Stephen Barlow up at Whixall moss. This again is quite an early record and a direct result of some amazingly warm days. Stephen also saw really good numbers of White-faced Darter at Whixall and many pairs in cop as seen here.
David Williams had a very successful trip to Dudmaston this weekend seeing the first Black-tailed Skimmers and Red-eyed Damselflies of 2018. Pictured here this Black-tailed Skimmer may be a teneral male or female, closer inspection being required to ascertain which. As males mature they develop a powder blue pruinescence that masks the yellow and black patterning apart from the black tail area. David also saw Azure, Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies. He then moved on to the River Severn enjoying a fleeting Clubtail, White-legged Damselflies (below right) and over 50 Banded Demoiselles. The fabulous photo below left shows one of the female Demoiselles enjoying a spot of Mayfly lunch!
Elsewhere, Peta Sams has been falling over ‘100s and 100s’ of Beautiful Demoiselles on the River Corve between Ludlow and Bromfield and Stuart Bolt has even been seeing dragonflies near Sainsburys in Telford! Stuart has sent in this lovely clear shot of an Azure Damselfly and the 2 pictures below of a male Broad-bodied Chaser (left) and a female Broad-bodied Chaser (right) ovipositing. Much more exciting than my trip to the supermarket!