Sunday, 30 May 2010

Scarce Chasers maturing

The high winds today made dragonfly activity fairly low, so we went geocaching around the Achurch / Waddenhoe area (there are two caches around this here). We walked from Waddenhoe to Achurch and along to Lilford. Between Achurch and Lilford, there is a sunny ride betwen the trees, and there we found 50-100 Scarce Chaser enjoying the sunshine. The trees shielded the path from the wind and it was definately a sun trip. Most of the Chasers were orange and a few of the males were showing signs of blue pruinescence.

First Emperor of the Year at Summer Leys

Doug Goddard reporst seeing this year's first Emperor, a recent emergent sheltering from today's high winds. Doug also recorded this Reed Bunting with a beak full of Damselflies to feed young.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Beautiful Demoiselle on the River Tove

Towcester's Beautiful Demoiselles have begun to appear on the River Tove, Northampton Road. Chris Emary found a few here as well as on the Tove at Greens Norton.

Black-tailed Skimmers emerging at Upton

Darryl Sutcliffe has visited the pond at Upton where the Red-veined Darters were seen last year. There was no sign of any emergees (did the larvae survive our extremely cold winter?). He did find several recently emerged Broad-bodied Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer at the Pineham end. Darryl's photos are posted above.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Emergence on the River Ise

I popped down to the Ise between Finedon and Wellingborough and found 2 White-legged Damselflies emerging and a number of Banded Demoiselle too. Not quite the mass emergence seen by Jim at Waddenhoe, but a good date for White-legs.

Mass Scarce Chaser emergence

The stunning weekend weather prompted a mass emergence of Scarce Chaser on the River Nene at Waddenhoe. Jim Dunkley visited on 24 May and saw so many emerging, he lost count! Scarce Chaser are known for their mass emergence, and this is a good example, probably helped by the previously chilly weather turnng very hot. A similar emergence was recorded at Woddwalton Fenn (Cambs) over the weekend.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Hairy Dragonflies at Fawsley Hall lakes

Hairy Dragonflies have been advancing west over the last few years and have now been recorded at Fawsley Hall, in the very west of Northamptonshire by Doug Goddard. This is the furthest west in the County and may actually represent eastwards expansion from Warwickshire.

Broad-bodied Chasers

Doug Goddard reports two Broad-bodied Chaser at Twywell Hills and Dales.

The Hottest Weekend!

Well, what a change in temperature. Two weeks ago, temperatures were hovering around the 10-12 degree mark with a chilly north-westerly wind. This weekend has seen conditions approaching 30 degrees. Dragonflies like the hot sunshine, however at temps over 30degrees, they become less active.

On my way home from a business trip on Friday 21 May, I took a detour to the Nene at Lilford, Waddenhoe and Aldwincle looking for Scarce Chaser. This time last year, emergence was well underway, but this year I struggled and only found one. The cold weather must have delayed them somewhat. I expect now that emergence has begun, we will start to see them now and the Bank Holiday weekend may be a good time to look.

At Yardley Chase, Downy Emeralds were emerging in good numbers (see photos above) and Large Reds were very active mating and oviposting.

The River Nene at Thrapston yielded another Scarce Chaser along with ~100 Banded Demoiselle, 2 Hairys and many Common Blue and Red-eyed Damselflies.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Banded Demoiselle appearing on the Nene and Ise

I saw male and female Banded Demoiselle on the Nene near Rushden and the Ise near Weetabix on 17 and 18 May. The Ise also hade Large Red, Azure and Common Blue Damselflies.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Downy Emeralds emerging

A turn in the weather to warm sunshine (16 degrees!) brought out a few emerging dragonflies at Yardley Chase this morning. After quite some hunting, we found a single male Downy Emerald emerging among several Four-spotted Chaser, including one unfortunate male being eaten from the tip of his abdomen by a spider, we rescued the Chaser, but it died through fluid loss. Two years as a larvae, 1 hour as an adult and you're breakfast for a hungry spider!! We found 6+ Hairy Dragonfly exuviae including a couple emerging. Also present were several Large Red, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselfly. The cold weather of recent weeks has certainly slowed emergence and adult numbers are still low. The coming weeks looks good though, so we may see a bit of a catch-up - I would expect Banded Demoiselle and Broad-bodied Chaser to be around by now. We did see a few BB Chaser larvae at the surface of the water, which is a good sign that they will emerge soon.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Four-spotted Chasers

Jeff Blincow reports the first Four-spotted Chaser of the year at Yardley Chase on Sunday 9 May.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Azure Damselflies at Wilson's Pits

Wilson's Pits always has a large number of Azure Damselflies in early May, declining as the season progresses to be replaced by Common Blue. Today there were only a few (10-20) and the odd Red-eyed Damselfly. I managed to capture these pictures of a female eating a small fly. The cool weather meant that they were quite docile, although the dull conditions made getting a decent picture quite hard. The top picture shows a Common Blue with striking pink colouration.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Common Blues emerging in good numbers

At Ditchford today, despite the overcast weather, I saw around 100 Common Blue Damselflies emerging and fluttering along the hedgerow. In amongst them were around 20 Red-eyed Damselfly. Both were in their typical juvenile colouration, with the Red-eyes looking especially drab (see above) showing none of the beautiful colour they will obtain in a few days. At the water margin, many more were emerging with plenty of exuviae. Four Hairy Dragonfly were emerging too, including the one above with a mal-formed wing. I think she is ~1 day old looking at her colouration compared with the others that had just emerged today.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Still a little slow out there!

The north westerly winds are bring low temperatures and cold air that are appears to be slowing emergence somewhat. By 4 May, I would expect at least two more species to have begun emergence and Large Reds in much greater numbers. At Southfield Farm Marsh this lunchtime, despite nice sunshine I only saw two Large Red Damselflies including one recently emerged. I couldn't find any new exuviae, which implies a low level of emergence so far.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Hungry Blue-tailed Damselfly

Paul Mellows of Wellingborough sent in this photo of a rufescens form female Blue-tailed Damselfly consuming a crane fly. The Damselfly emerged from his pond on 27 April, making it the first record of this species in Northants. Its a great photo of our smallest dragonfly eating a meal that is at least as big as itself. Thanks for the record and excellent picture Paul!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Large Red Damselfy & Hairy Dragonfly Emerging

Despite poor weather forecasts for this weekend, it was bright and warm this morning so we ventred out and discovered more activity with ~60 Large Red Damselfly including many emerging and 2 Hairy Dragonfly emerging.