Shropshire Dragonfly Watch BlogKeeping an eye on the dragonflies flying in Shropshire

Common Darter male

The purpose of this blog is to keep dragonfly enthusiasts up to date with dragonfly activity throughout the season. This way we should all know first hand what’s on the wing in Shropshire.

 

All are very welcome to be part of this seasonal diary. Get in touch at  info@shropshiredragonflies.co.uk with sightings and photographs so I can post them on the blog. Even if you’re new to dragonflies and not sure what you have photographed please send it in and get involved in the 2020 Shropshire Dragonfly Watch.

Dozens of Darters!

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All this fabulous autumnal weather means there are still a good number of dragonflies about. Miles Leach was enjoying the sunshine on Monday at Boyne Water on Brown Clee and reports dozens of Black Darter (photo left) mating and ovipositing. He also took these lovely shots of Brown Hawker (below left) and Common Hawker (below right) females ovipositing. The yellow costa (leading edge of wing) is really striking in the Common Hawker. Amongst the other species seen were Southern Hawker, Emerald Damselfly and Common Darter- a great September day!

Good numbers of Small Red-eyed Damselfly…

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Jim Almond has been back to Dudmaston and taken these fabulous photos of Small Red-eyed Damselfly seen in good numbers on the main pond. Jim saw lots of copulating pairs perhaps making the most of the warmth before this very autumnal turn in the weather! It’s really great to see this new Shropshire species for the second year running and all this activity bodes well for the future population at Dudmaston.

Coping with the torrid heat of Shropshire…

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Who’d have thought you could get too hot up on the Longmynd? Miles Leach has taken this great shot of a Black Darter male obelisking at Pole Cottage Pools. Usually such black coloration helps to absorb the suns heat, but on those very occasional hot August afternoons things can get too much and so the abdomen is directed toward the sun  reducing the surface area exposed to the full impact of the rays.

Elsewhere Miles was surprised to see his first Common Hawker (male shown below) near Tugford, some distance from the acidic pools of Brown Clee Hill. Seen hawking for insects near a stream, this male had fairly opaque wings illustrating it’s recent emergence and perhaps explaining why it was keeping a distance from more typical (and competitive) habitat areas until mature.

Garden Pond regulars…

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Jan Shields has sent in this stunning in flight shot of a Southern Hawker taken at Mousecroft Pool near Shrewsbury. Unfortunately numbers and abundance of species appears to be low possibly due to disturbance from current works going on in and around the pond. Southern Hawker is often a regular at garden ponds and back at Jan’s own pond Common Darters were emerging. These photos illustrate some of this extraordinary process and it’s amazing to see how much the abdomen extends once pulled out of the exuvia.

Migrant Hawker on the wing…

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Jim Almond has seen the first Shropshire Migrant Hawkers on the wing at Venus Pool. Having followed what he thought was initially a male on the wing close up shots eventually revealed this female with long anal appendages and a thick (not waisted) abdomen. The initial confusion was caused by the blue coloration on the abdomen usually just seen in males, but occasionally witnessed in females too. I should also mention the main diagnostic feature of all Migrant Hawkers both male and female- the yellow golf tee shape on segment 2 of the abdomen- beautifully illustrated here.

Species recorded in 2020…

Large Red Damselfly

15th April

Four-spotted Chaser

19th April

White-faced Darter

22nd April

Broad-bodied Chaser

25th April

Beautiful Demoiselle

2nd May

Azure Damselfly

6th May

Banded Demoiselle

8th May

Emperor Dragonfly

11th May

Common Clubtail

13th May

White-legged Damselfly

19th May

Common Blue Damselfly

22nd May

Blue-tailed Damselfly

22nd May

Black-tailed Skimmer

28th May

Downy Emerald Dragonfly

1st June

Red-eyed Damselfly

8th June

Brown Hawker

13th June

Emerald Damselfly

14th June

Common Hawker

15th June

Southern Hawker

15th June

Common Darter

16th June

Black Darter

20th June

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

23rd June

Variable Damselfly

25th June

Ruddy Darter

10th July

Keeled Skimmer

14th July

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

8th August

Migrant Hawker

14th August