Sunday, 24 May 2015

Four-spotted Chaser emergence

There was a strong synchronised emergence of Four-spotted Chasers on 22 May, and I counted 35 at all stages from just leaving the water to full wings open. I captured a full sequence, which I have done before, but this is the first time I managed to get a shot of the adult extracting itself from the exuvia.

Downy Emerald emergence timelapse

I've been keen to try out the intervalometer on my new Canon 7D mark 2 on an emerging dragonfly, so when I located this Downy Emerald I set the camera up to shoot 1 picture every 10 seconds. Video works at around 25 frames a second, so for 1 second of video I needed to record about 3 mins of actual time. In total, I took about 1000 images of the full emergence and then cut the process down into the two key stages. There was quite a breeze so the reed moved a little between frames, hence why it looks jerky. I learnt a lot during this time, and in the subsequent processing and my next attempt will be much better.

Here's the adult just before its maiden flight.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Scarce Chasers emerging on the Nene

I stopped off at Lilford this lunchtime and quickly located 2 emerging Scarce Chasers and 2 exuviae. It was windy, but that didn't cause any problems for the adults. Also, one Hairy Dragonfly exuvia and several emerging Banded Demoiselles. Moving on to the Nene at Titchmarsh Nature Reserve, there were several Demoiselles around and good numbers of Azure Damselflies around the Nene. One emergent male Scarce Chaser took it's first flight and landed conveniently by the small footbridge.

Female Scarce Chaser (Lilford)

Male Scarce Chaser (Titchmarsh Nature Reserve)  

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Four-spotted Chasers

I found my first Four-spotted Chaser exuvia and a single emerging adult at Ditchford on 15th. Several Hairys were emerging too. I haven't yet seen a Hairy at territory, so it can't be far off.

I don't often go round to the second lake as it doesn't have quite as many species as the meadow lake, however I am glad I did as I disturbed 100+ emerging Common Blues. The meadow lake has been slow to yield Common Blues this year, and I have only seen a handful at a time, so it was great to see so many coming out. Also, two Hairy exuvia. Lots of Red-eyes too, including some taking up territory on floating vegetation.

I took a walk around Wilson's Pits on 17th. I am concerned about the future of this site now that the Rushden Lakes development has been given the go-ahead, but know that the Wildlife Trust are consulting on the project. I have even offered some photos for interpretation boards. Work has already started and many hedges have been removed from the Skew bridge side. At least it will stop the fly tippers. Anyway, Wilson's Pits is always good for Azure Damselflies at this time in May. Numbers have declined here in the last 10 years, probably because some of the shallow waters have been lost to succession. On my visit, there were around 50 Azures, several Red-eyes, Common Blues, one Hairy and one female Broad-bodied Chaser.  

Female Hairy Dragonfly

Teneral Common Blue Damselfly

Four-spotted Chaser

Immature Male Azure Damselfly

Female Broad-bodied Chaser

Thursday, 14 May 2015

River Nene at Wadenhoe

I took a walk along the Nene at Wadenhoe, one of my favourite sites. It's a little early for Scarce Chasers - perhaps nearer 18th-23rd May, but there were around 30 Banded Demoiselles in attendance and a few Large Red Damselflies. Surprisingly, I came across a recently emerged male Broad-bodied Chaser. I don't know of any suitable shallow ponds near here so am unsure where it came from.

As BBCs are now emerging, I stopped off at Twywell on the way to work this morning and visited the Whitestones Ponds. The small Chaser pond (as I call it) is completely dried up, so I am not expecting anything to emerge from it as the compacted mud must make it impossible for larva to crawl out. The middle pond still has a good water level, hopefully enough to support the larvae. I couldn't find any exuviae, but than that doesn't mean too much as I don't exactly have a great track record of finding BBC exuvia.

Male Banded Demoiselle

Male Broad-bodied Chaser

Female Banded Demoiselle

Female Large Red Damselfly

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Azure Damselflies appearing

During a very brief visit to Ditchford on Sunday lunchtime, I was surprised at how many Red-eyed Damselflies were emerging compared to other species. In amongst ~30 Red-eyes were only one of two Common Blues and one female Azure Damselfly.  Normally good numbers of Common Blues emerge alongside the Red-eyes. Perhaps we are in for a good Red-eye year? A couple for Blue-tails were resting in the reeds, but from their colouration I estimated they were a day or so old. No Hairys were emerging (that I could find at least).

Female Azure Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Red-eyed Damselfly Exuvia

Make Red-eyed Damselfly

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

New look for my blog

I have updated the look of my blog to use Google's latest tech. This allows my pictures to be shown larger than before. There might be a few teething issues and I may make a few adjustments in the coming days until I am happy with the new look, so apologies in advance. Thanks - Mark

Monday, 4 May 2015

Bank Holiday Activity

After completing the morning's chores, I managed an hour at Ditchford. This was time to find a number of emerging Red-eyed Damselflies, Blue-tailed Damselflies and a single Common Blue Damselfly. There were also a handful of emerging Hairy Dragonflies too.

At about the same time, John Windust found Banded Demoiselles on the River Nene at Higham Ferrers.

This adds 4 new species to the County in the same day.

Banded Demoiselle (photo John Windust)

Red-eyed Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Red-eyed Damselfly