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 2019 Shropshire Dragonfly Watch.

3 more species on the wing…

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A quick reminder from the weather that it is actually June (!) and all sorts of things take to the wing; Steven Barlow reports female Emperor ovipositing at Whixall Moss and Black Darters being seen just over the border on the moss in Wales. I then strolled into the garden on Saturday morning to see 3 Common Darters emerging from our pond- photographed here next to the exuviae. To get to this fence post the mature larvae will have crawled about 1m away from the water.

Black-tailed Skimmer on the wing…

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Somehow between downpours we managed a Biolinks recording day on Tuesday at Whixall Moss and Alderford Lake. At Whixall we were treated to 8 species including White-faced Darters, numerous White-legged Damselflies and a good number of teneral Emerald Damselflies. Alderford Lake produced the first known Black-tailed Skimmer sighting this year in Shropshire- the immature male photographed by Stephen Barlow (left) showing all the patterns and coloration also seen on females. Damselflies were in good numbers at Alderford and Stephen’s photos of two mating pairs below provide a nice comparison of Common Blue (middle) and Azure (right) damselfly. We also saw numerous Blue-tailed Damselflies in a range of colour forms. The picture below (left) shows a female with the bicoloured pterostigma just visible on the wings.

Dodging the showers…

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Stephen Barlow and I have both been dodging showers and floods up at Whixall Moss and independently both spotted the first Emerald Damselflies of the season on Friday 14th. Stephen took this pic of a recently emerged male as well as the lovely shots of a Four-spotted Chaser (below left) and a male White-legged Damselfly (below right). We both saw 7 or 8 species on a fairly cloudy day proving that if you can find a sheltered spot you may still find Odonata on a very questionable June day. White-faced Darter are also still on the wing and Stephen suspects he may have seen a Black Darter, but unconfirmed as yet.

Doing lunch…

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Paul Spear has sent in some fabulous mealtime shots of a female Demoiselle feasting on White-legged Damselfly. The photos not only show what quick work the Demoiselle made of it’s prey, but also highlight the big size difference between the 2 species of damselfly.

Also at Coalbrookdale Paul has seen more Common Clubtails and the photos at the bottom show a male (left) and female (right)- the latter showing a far stockier body with more yellow coloration visible on the abdomen.

Dragonflies in town…

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Gary Crowder has been in the heart of Shrewsbury witnessing more Common Clubtails emerging from the River Severn. This male (left) makes a striking contrast to the muddy background. The yellow coloration looks more like that of a female but the waisted abdomen and acute angles just visible on the rear margin of the hindwings show this is an immature male. Gary also saw Azure Damselfly (female below left) and White-legged Damselfly (below right)- another lovely species to see emerging at this time of year….given a weather window of course!

Species recorded in 2019…

Large Red Damselfly

17th April

White-faced Darter

22nd April

Four-spotted Chaser

22nd April

Azure Damselfly

4th May

Red-eyed Damselfly

5th May

Blue-tailed Damselfly

5th May

Beautiful Demoiselle

15th May

Banded Demoiselle

15th May

Broad-bodied Chaser

15th May

White-legged Damselfly

15th May

Common Clubtail

19th May

Common Blue Damselfly

27th May

Emerald Damselfly

14th June

Black-tailed Skimmer

18th June

Emperor Dragonfly

20th June

Black Darter

20th June

Common Darter

22nd June