Saturday, 31 May 2014

Common Club-tails on the Thames at Goring

I've been meaning to visit the Thames at Goring for a number of years, but have been unable to make the time. This year, the Mother-in-law was staying with her sister at Chinnor, so I volunteered to collect her, oh and pop into Goring on the way - well, with a slight detour anyway. Once at the site by the railway bridge, I promptly found my first exuvia. I spent about 2.5 hours looking for adults without any luck and decided to go back to bridge for lunch. I bumped into three others also searching, and while chatting one of them spotted this teneral at exactly the spot I started my search. He must have emerged while I was off searching! How disappointing. Well, I did get to see one - my first, so it wasn't a waste of time. And, I located three more exuviae too. There is a record of this species from the River Nene near Wansford from 1951, and I have been keen to understand whether the Nene ever held a breeding colony - if it can support Scarce Chaser and White-legged Damselflies, why not Club-tails? I have searched the Nene several times, without success, but this is an elusive species where hundreds can emerge and only a few adults ever seen, so it may still be here undiscovered.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

River Species

I managed to track down 40+ White-legged Damselflies on the River Ise near Finedon the other day and at last found a few Scarce Chasers at Wadenhoe, just before they dispersed during their maturation period. At Wadenhoe, there also were hundreds of Banded Demoiselles, a female Hairy Dragonfly and an emerging male Hairy too. I am always amazed that Hairys breed in this river. After capturing a few shots of an immature Chaser, I concentrated on the territorial behaviour of the Demoiselles and  managed some decent shots of males fighting over the best territories.

Close-up of the legs of a teneral White-legged Damselfly

Male White-legged Damselfly

Immature Scarce Chaser
Battling Banded Demoiselles 1

Battling male Banded Demoiselles 2


Sunday, 18 May 2014

A big week for new species

After about 10 days of cool, rainy and windy weather, a break with some sunshine an warmth had a big impact, with 6 new species emerging between 14 May and 17 May.

On 14 May, Chris Emary reported seeing this year's first Beautiful Demoiselle on the River Tove at Greens Norton. On the same day, Freddie Ingall and Alison Lowe found 4 immature Scarce Chasers on the River Nene at Titchmarsh Nature Reserve.

On 15 May, Chris saw a pair of Broad-bodied Chasers at Greens Norton.

On 16 May Chris found White-legged Damselflies on the River Nene at Upron Mill near Rothersthorpe.

I visited a few sites over the weekend and found 20+ emerging Four-spotted Chasers and 30+ emerging Downy Emeralds at their only site in the County. A visit to the Nene at Lilford failed to find any Scarce Chasers, although I popped to Twywell and found 1 male Broad-bodied Chaser. I have been searching the Whitestones Ponds for the last three weeks of so and failed to find any emerging Broad-bodied Chasers, so I am at a loss to know how I missed this one! This is one species I vowed learn more about this year, but I remain in the dark about where it emerges.

Downy Emerald emerging

Downy Emerald emerging

Four-spotted Chaser

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Recent sightings

While the weather takes a damp and cool break - hopefully not for long - here are a few photos of what's around.

Twywell Hills & Dales is beginning to show, although I haven't managed to find any emerging Broad-bodied Chasers yet. I found a pair of Large Reds in tandem, many around the hedges and a single Azure Damselfly. Also, one Hairy Dragonfly flying around the meadow.

Tony Vials reports seeing  a Large Red at Summer Leys on Saturday.

On Sunday, we took a walk around Thrapston Lake where I saw ~50 Banded Demoiselle on the Nene. Also, a handful or Red-eyes and a single Hairy Dragonfly exuiva on the lake.

Male Banded Demoiselle

Female Banded Demoiselle

Male Large Red Damselfly eating lunch

Tandem pair of Large Reds

Immature female Azure Damselfly

Male Large Red Damselfly

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Azure Damselflies

Despite the cool conditions on Friday, I managed to find a couple of Azure Damselflies emerging at Twywell Hills & Dales, also 1 Large Red too. No adults were flying.

Emerging Azure Damselfly

Emerging Large Red Damselfly