One week away enjoying the gales and rain of Norway and so much happens! All this fabulous weather has encouraged 3 more species onto the wing. Ruddy Darter has been recorded and beautifully photographed by Paul Spear at Venus Pools. The male (left) clearly illustrates why this species is so named with it’s vibrant blood red colour and the female is shown below. Stephen Barlow has also seen the first Southern Hawkers on the wing at Whixall Moss. His picture (below right) clearly shows the broad antehumeral stripes on this immature male. Stephen has also photographed the first Black Darters at Whixall Moss (far below left) not to be confused with a few old White-faced Darters still hanging on in ever decreasing numbers.
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Jason Kernohan has been on the trail of the aptly named Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly on Titterstone Clee Hill. Sadly to no avail this time, but he did find the first evidence of Common Hawker emerging this season with this fabulous exuviae. Don’t forget they are the best records to get as they are proof of successful breeding. I’m really enjoying all the exuviae emerging from our relatively new pond this year- up to about 25 Common Darter so far!
Jan Shields has sent in a lovely photo of a Red-eyed Damselfly annoying a female Emperor Dragonfly whilst ovipositing at Mousecroft Pool. I’m not sure why some damselflies do this- please get in touch if you have any ideas! Elsewhere in Church Stretton, Graham Wenman captured this pair of Large Red Damselflies in tandem….being chaperoned (unsuccessfully it would seem) by a fly. Seeing the male and female together really shows how much broader the female body is, allowing the capacity to carry eggs. Jan Shields was also lucky enough to see an ‘out of place’ White-legged Damselfly in her garden…presumably nowhere near a stream.
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!
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.