Sunday, 1 May 2011

Downy Emeralds emerging two weeks early

Large Red

Four-spotted Chaser

Emerging Downy Emerald

I visited Yardley Chase today in the hope of catching some emerging Four-spots or Hairys, and instead found 2 exuviae of Downy Emerald and one adult emerging. Due to the early time I visited (0830hrs), the 2 exuviae must have been from yesterday or earlier, which means that the recorded species total for April is 10 species, a new County Record (2007 = 8 species). This is a good two weeks early for the Downy and a sign of how special this spring has been for our dragonflies. I only hope the year doesn't progress like 2007, with a very wet summer. The Downy larva had climbed the trunk of a small tree overhanging the water. This is classic behaviour for this species, but one that I have not seen before. I now understand why the larva's legs are so long - to grasp around the tree trunk. The emerging adult was in the shade with a bright sunlit background, so I had to use fill-in flash - my new Canon 7D has a wireless flash function that really helped get the shots.

Also seen: Large Red, Blue-tailed, Four-spotted Chaser, Hairy Dragonfly.