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 2021 Shropshire Dragonfly Watch.

Autumn glory…

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Just checking records on iRecord and found this wonderful picture of Common Hawker taken by Geoff Hall at Wildmoor Pool a few days ago. The light on the wings is beautiful and I couldn’t resist posting it. Summer may be fading but there are still some great insects about to enjoy!

Bizarre Ovipositing…

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Whenever dragonflies are spotted ovipositing in odd places it always seems to be a Southern Hawker. Jan Shields photographed this female ovipositing in dry moss at the base of an old dry birdbath just a couple of metres away from a perfectly suitable pond. The insect also tried landing on Jan’s head!

In my own garden I was observing another Southern Hawker attempting to egg lay in cracks between patio slabs…again a metre or so away from a very suitable pond.

Thankfully Jan has also seen Migrant Hawker (below right) in her garden behaving sensibly! This male is showing the textbook ‘reduced’ antehumeral stripes on top of the thorax and just visible is the diagnostic golf tee shape at the top of the abdomen.

Winging our way towards autumn…

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Incredibly it’s September tomorrow, but judging by records coming in from the weekend there’s still a lot of dragonfly activity to be enjoyed. Miles Leach has been at a pond near the base of Brown Clee Hill enjoying Southern Hawkers (male beautifully pictured left and below left) and both Ruddy and Common Darters, the latter being shown in tandem below right.

Jan Shields has also sent in more great photos from The Bog, Stiperstones; a male Southern Hawker in flight (far below left) and a mating pair of Black Darters (far below right).These were seen alongside Emerald Damselflies, Migrant Hawker and Brown Hawker. Jan’s last 2 photos show a female Brown Hawker ovipositing, head on to illustrate those stunning wings and the a side view with a brilliant reflection!

Not for the faint hearted…

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Jill Orme has witnessed some extraordinary behaviour whilst observing Common Hawkers at Pole Cottage Pools on the Long Mynd. As the photographs rather grimly show, a female was going about her business ovipositing when a male arrived and attempted to grasp the female’s head presumably to mate. The result however was to pull the females head to the extent that it almost detached. He then apparently flew off leaving  her fatally injured though still with her head attached just the wrong way round! Unsurprisingly she didn’t make any more movements though it would be interesting to know if she successfully laid eggs- some insects can do incredible things when injured and I wonder if for a time the egg laying continued? I’ll do my best to make my next post more palatable!

Male and female Emerald Damselflies

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Miles Leach has been enjoying Emerald Damselflies at a relatively new pond near the base of Brown Clee Hill. This photo shows beautifully the differences between male and females of this species. Whilst both insects are holding their wings at 45 degrees (hence the name spreadwings) the female has a noticeably broader abdomen than the male and has no blue pruinescens  or striking blue eyes that we see in the male.

Species recorded in 2021…

Large Red Damselfly

15th April

Four-spotted Chaser

22nd April

White-faced Darter

25th April

Blue-tailed Damselfly

26th April

Variable Damselfly

26th April

Azure Damselfly

10th May

Red-eyed Damselfly

14th May

Broad-bodied Chaser

17th May

Beautiful Demoiselle

18th May

Common Clubtail

19th May

Banded Demoiselle

19th May

Common Blue Damselfly

27th May

White-legged Damselfly

27th May

Emperor Dragonfly

31st May

Downy Emerald

9th June

Black-tailed Skimmer

9th June

Emerald Damselfly

14th June

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

16th June

Black Darter

22nd June

Common Darter

24th June

Common Hawker

24th June

Southern Hawker

1st July

Brown Hawker

4th July

Ruddy Darter

18th July

Keeled Skimmer

19th July

Migrant Hawker

26th July

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

4th August