Returning from leave I’ve received lots of records and photographs and here are just a few. A fabulous White-legged damselfly taken by David Williams on Kenley Common (left) and the aptly named Beautiful Demoiselle photographed by Ron Parnell on the River Onny where Banded Demoiselles were also on the wing.
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Now the heat is on and a good number of species are emerging, but don’t forget the exuviae. These are the best records to get as they are proof of successful breeding in a particular water body. Even if you don’t fancy the identification challenge yourself, just get in touch and I’ll take a look. I’ve posted one of Paul Spear’s emergence shots from last year to whet the appetite!
Ron Parnell has also sent in a couple of lovely photos from Pole Cottage Pools on the Long Mynd; Large Red Damselflies in cop and a Four-spotted Chaser.
A couple of lovely photos from Jan Shields showing a magnificent Emperor seen at Carding Mill Valley and a Broad-bodied Chaser sunbathing at Mousecroft Pool near Shrewsbury. The chaser illustrates the patches of dark pigment at the bases of the wings- this is characteristic of all chasers and is a useful way to split them from medium sized blue bodied male skimmers (which have clear wings).
Great dragonfly weather has encouraged a boost in winged activity at Whixall Moss this weekend with Stephen Barlow seeing White-faced Darters, Four-spotted Chasers, Azure , Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies and the first 2017 Shropshire records of Brown Hawker. Stephen also thinks he caught a glimpse of the first Common Darters but as yet unconfirmed… Stephen’s photos clearly show two identification features of the Brown Hawker visible in flight;the brown wings and the 2 yellow stripes on the side of the thorax.
Finally a day of summer weather saw the arrival of Black Darter at Whixall Moss. This is quite an early sighting and Stephen Barlow’s photograph shows the diagnostic black triangle on top of the thorax- visible in females and immature males. Stephen also saw numerous Emerald Damselflies emerging (below left) and Emperor Dragonfly- snapping this lovely in flight shot. Certainly yesterday seemed to be the hour of the Emperor as I saw them at every sight I visited.
Gareth Thomas has made the first 2017 Shropshire sighting of Golden-ringed Dragonfly at Cramer Gutter in south Shropshire. The female seen here has a fabulous long ovipositor which is clearly visible at the end of the abdomen. She uses this to oviposit (egg lay) by appearing to ‘bounce’ up and down placing eggs into the base of fast flowing streams.
Despite the less than convincing June several species seem to be emerging including Southern Hawker…this time definitely in Shropshire, near Oswestry, and seen by Warwick Davies emerging from his garden pond on 9th June. These lovely shots show the diagnostic broad antehumeral stripes. Warwick has also seen Emperor Dragonfly at SWT Holly Banks Reserve- first sighted on 8th June. Further afield the first Emerald Damselflies have been seen at Dolgoch Quarry on 4th June and Stephen Barlow has seen Black-tailed Skimmers at Whixall Moss on 9th June- a female shown below left. Stephen also took this lovely shot of a male Broad-bodied Chaser (below centre) and Gary Palmer has been enjoying good numbers of White-legged Damselflies (below right) on the River Severn just south of Hampton Loade -thanks to all who have persevered when the summer has not!
Despite a rather dubious start to June there have been unconfirmed reports of Emperors and Emerald Damselflies taking to the wing (will hopefully update shortly). Stephen Barlow has also spotted an early Southern Hawker up at Whixall Moss though inconveniently on the Welsh side of the border! The photo of the teneral male is shown here and as Stephen points out it interestingly has far more blue coloration on the abdomen than the usual green. It could be that this will alter with maturity or it could be a rare form of Southern Hawker in which all abdominal segments have blue markings.
I have visited a few still water sites in recent days and reasonably frequently encountered Beautiful Demoiselles. It was timely that Stephen Barlow then sent me this picture of the species seen at Whixall Moss….again seemingly some way from suitable habitat. Dave Barnett had also reported seeing Beautiful Demoiselles on still water near Bayton though the River Rea is at least close to where he saw them. Dave has sent in the 2 photos below. The shot on the left is particularly useful as both the male and female can be seen.