Saturday, 19 September 2009

Red-veined Darters AND Black Darter at Upton

Following the sightings of the Red-veined Darters oviposting at Upton, I have been visiting every week since the beginning of September to see if any adults had emerged. Well, today was the day!. I was with my son and we met Alan who was also looking for them. We were looking for exuviae in the reeds, when we spotted a Black Darter. Whether this is the same one seen by Doug Goddard at Weston Mill last week is not known, but if it isn't it means there may be more elsewhere. I managed to grab a couple of not very good pictures as it didn't settle for long. When we lost sight of it, we hunted in the ditch and noticed that a male Common Darter was attempting to mate with a very fresh looking female. This turned out to be a newly emerged Red-veined Darter. We got some good photos, and went on to see up to two more all of which were being harassed by male Common Darter. On the way back we located two exuviae.
The Red-veined Darters were beautiful (especially compared with the drab Black Darter). The contrast of the blue-grey lower half of the eyes with the red-brown upper part is incredible and the blue-grey really stands out. The coming week may see more emergences. It is expected that these adults will leave and fly south within a few weeks, and will not stay to breed.