Monday, 19 November 2012

Common Darters still around

Terry Wood reports a Common Darter in Polebrook on 18 Nov. The latest date for the County is 29 Nov, so still a week and a bit to go. I've not seen any this month, so am now keen to go out when the sun shines and have a look. This photo is the male seen by Terry.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Fermyn Woods Country Park

We took a walk through Fermyn Woods as  was lovely sunny afternoon. Stopping at the Big Pit pond, we watched several Southern Hawkers at territory and at least 3 females ovipositing. In total there were around 10 Southern Hawkers. Also, 1 Migrant Hawker, several Ruddy and Common Darters. It's always good to see Ruddy Darters into October as their season is often over by now.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Southern Hawker

At last, I've managed a half-decent shot of a Southern Hawker in-flight! Also, still a few Ruddy Darters, Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers around.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

End of September Activity

Well, summer is over and the autumn nights are drawing in. Dragonflies are still active though and will be for over 1 month. At Finedon this lunchtime, several Common Darters were ovipositing alongside a few Ruddy Darters. A single female Migrant Hawker egg laying in the reeds and a male Southern Hawker patrolling territory (I still haven't managed a decent in-flight shot of this species). This obliging male Common Darter hovered just in front of me allowing a series of in-flight shots.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

White-legged Damselflies still around

I visited the River Ise this windy luchtime. There was nothing flying, apart from 2 White-legged Damselflies flitting around among the reeds. This is a very late date for this species, although the Ise does regularly see White-legs into September.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Loads of Migrant Hawkers about

I am seeing lots of Migrant Hawkers around, especially far from water. Where ever I drive, I seem to see them flying around the roads. At Ditchford on Friday, there were around 100 adults including territorial males, ovipositing females and mating pairs. There was a lot of fighting over territories and great excitement when a female appeared. The sheer numbers made in-flight photography very exciting, and I got a good number of shots. Here are some of my favourites. Also seen, many Common Darters, a few Brown Hawkers, Common Blue Damselflies, one Ruddy Darter and a couple of Banded Demoiselles.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Migrant Hawkers at Ditchford

Ditchford was buzzing with Migrant Hawkers this lunchtime, although the frequent clouds obliterating the sun reduced the photo opportunities. Anyway, I managed to get a couple of decent in-flight shots. Many pairs were mating, but frustratingly out of reach.

A surprise visitor put in an appearance -  a female Southern Hawker! This species does not breed at Ditchford as the water is too deep, although adults occassionally appear as they are great wanderers. Also seen were several Common Blue Damselflies, Brown Hawkers (including an ovipositing female), Blue-tailed Damselflies and many Common Darters.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Small Red-eyed Damselflies

Male Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Tandem pair


I made a call at Higham Ferrers pits this afternoon with temperatures hovering between 29-30 degrees C - a real scortcher! There was plenty of activity from the Small Red-eyes, but not much else. Although Dragonflies like the sun, they can overheat and temperatures this high can reduce activity.

I saw a total of 70+ Small Red-eyes with around 20 pairs ovipositing into the hornwort. They were all a fair way out so I had to wade through the duck weed with my camera perched on its monopod. This was quite scary as one mis-foot and down I would have gone with my camera (probably uninsured as this would be considered a hazardous adventure). Well worth it though!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Migrant Hawkers & Common Darters

Female Migrant Hawker

Male Migrant Hawker

Common Darter

Common Darter

The walk to the pond at Finedon is along a disused railway line, and is lined with trees and hedges with several open areas that trap sunlight and warmth. Within these areas I watched as around 40 Migrant Hawkers buzzed hunting for food. Luckily a male and a female landed in a suitable position for a few shots. There were also plenty of immature Common Darters flitting around and resting on branches and twigs. At the pond, Ruddy Darters, Emerald Damselflies and Brown Hawkers were ovipositing in good numbers. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Migrant Hawkers at last

Mark Piper reports the first Migrant Hawker at Brampton Wood on 25 July, north of Desborough. Looks like the Northants set is complete for 2012 baring any unusual migrants in the remainder of the flying season.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Small Red-eyed Damselflies

"Normal" Red-eyed Damselfly

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

I took a chance and visited Higham Ferrers Pits this lunchtime and was rewarded with several Small Red-eyed Damselflies on the main fishing lake and also on the nature reserve lake. They mingled with "normal" Red-eyes and Common Blues. Also seen were the usual damsels, Brown Hawker and a pair of Ruddy Darter in cop and then ovipositing.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Darters, Emerald Damselflies and a very old Broad-bodied Chaser

Very old female Broad-bodied Chaser

Newly emerged male Ruddy Darter

Mature male Ruddy Darter

Male Emerald Damselfly

Well, what a change! Temperatures have soared this week and brought out good dragonfly activity. Over the last few days I have visited Pitsford Reservoir Nature Reserve and Finedon. Ruddy Darters and Emerald Damselflies are around in good numbers and today saw a synchronised emergence of at least 10 Ruddy Darters at Finedon. Of pedrhaps greater interest was a very old female Broad-bodied Chaser, showing some signs of male pruinescence. This is a very good late date for this species and a good indicator that dragonflies can still survive and live for a long time despite of the poor weather. In many respects, good weather is known to shorten the flying season - dragonlfies often die because their wings become too tatty and they can no longer fly.

Still no Migrant Hawkers recorded, which is late. Normally they appear towards the beginning of July.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Beautiful Demoiselles



I made my regular trip to the Tove at Towcester to see the Beautiful Demoiselles. At Northampton Road, the park was flooded and I couldn't get close enough to the River to see any. Moving on to Green's Norton was more successful with 20 adults, and equal numbers of males and females. A single White-legged Damelfly was also present.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Scarce Chasers at Wadenhoe

I managed the only 2 hours of warm sunshine this weekend and spent it at Wadenhoe watching the Scarce Chaser. There were about 40 males and 3 pairs mating. One male was surprisingly young, still showing orange colouration, He was quite obliging allowing me to get a good in-flight shot.

Darryl visited the Nene and Harper's Brook around Thorpe Waterville and Aldwincle and saw many more. The poor weather does not seem to have dented activity or numbers too much which is pleasing to see.

Elsewhere, Doug recorded the first Emerald Damselfies at Fermyn Woods Country Park and Ruddy Darter at Castle Ashby ponds.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Red-veined Darters return to Northants

The weather forecast on TV explained that the sand being deposited on our cars is from the Sahara,which is often a good sign that migrant dragonflies are around. So I have been on the look out for any to appear - some have already shown up in neighbouring Warwickshire. On Friday, during a routine visit to Finedon Pocket Park, I spotted a very yellow Darter with grey eyes and black legs - classic colouration of a female Red-veined Darter. Today, I visited a site that has been under watch for a while for just this event and, although quite windy, saw three bright red male Red-veined Darter (see photos above). These are the first sightings since those in 2009 at Upton (these are not at Upton though). Also present were 30+ Black-tailed Skimmer, ovipositing Emperor, Four-spotted Chaser, and the usual Damselflies.

Keep a watch out across the County as I am sure other RVDs will appear. The gravel around the newer lakes at Stanwick Lakes offer potential as do any shallow ponds with bare surrounds. Upton may again yield more.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

White-legged Damselflies


Immature female

I saw my first White-legged Damselflies today, on the River Ise between Finedon and Wellingborough. This is quite late for me as they normally emerge at the end of May / early June. Again, the weather is at fault. Of the estimated 75 presen there were very few blue males which does suggest that they have emerged late nd have been slow to mature because. Still, they are quit noticeable as the females are a very creamy white. There were many recently emerged adults too. Also present were Large Reds, Azure, Common Blue, Blue-tails and Banded Demoiselle.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Recent Sightings

The weather has calmed down a bit recently (we are so obsessed with the weather us dragonfly spotters aren't we!), allowing a few trips out. On 19 June at Ditchford I saw the year's Brown Hawker take its maiden flight, along with Emperors, Four-spotted Chaser and the usual damelflies. At Yardley Chase, on my return from a Business trip to MK, I captured this Downy Emerald among about 10 buzzing around the pond. This is my first in flight shot of the year. The second shot shows a pair of mating Blue-tailed Damselflies at Ditchford. The female is of the rufescens-obsoleta colour form.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

New sightings

Terry Wood reports the first Southern Hawker at Glapthorn Cow pastures NR and Doug Goddard reports Beautiful Demoiselle at Yardley Chase - some distance from its nearest (known) colony.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Broad-bodied Chasers at Finedon Pocket Park

I took a chance at lunchtime today and headed to Finedon Pocket Park and was rewarded by a break in the clouds that let warm sunshine through for an hour or two. About 10 mins after I got there, this male Broad-bodied Chaser appeared and began to fly around the pond margins, resting at a few regular spots. This is my first BBC of the year. Also present were Azure, Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies.

White-legged Damselflies

White-legged Damselfly

Chris reports the first White-legged Damselfies on the River Nene at Upton Mill on 10 June.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Black-tailed Skimmers, Scarce Chasers & Banded Demoiselle at Stanwick Lakes

Female Banded Demoiselle

Black-tailed Skimmer

Emerging Black-tailed Skimmer

Female Scarce Chaser

We took a walk around Stanwick Lakes on Sunday afternoon, where there were 100s of Common Blues, Blue-tailed & Red-eyed Damselflies including many recent emergents. I managed to disturb a few recently emerged Black-tailed Skimmers too, including the one above that hadn't fully completed emergence. Interestingly, this one had left the water, climbed up the bank, traversed the footpath and found this very precareious dead stem to emerge onto. This was a walk of some 10m and would have meant the larva walked straight passed many suitable emergence supports. Around the Nene by the footbridge, were ~1000 Banded Demoiselle, probably the highest numbers I have seen all year. I also disturbed this recently emerged female Scarce Chaser. I discovered the colony here a couple of years ago, but this is the first proof that they are breeding at Stanwick Lakes.