Saturday, 6 June 2015

White-legged Damselflies and others

On the River Ise at Burton Latimer and Finedon, White-legged Damselflies are now present. All of the adults I saw were immature (no blue males) so must only have emerged in the last few days. In the immature stage, males and females look similar from a distance but up close the differences become apparent. Plenty of Banded Demoiselles around too.

I visited three sites in one day to try and catch a good range of species. Starting off at Yardley Chase, Downy Emeralds were showing in good numbers although none performed well enough to capture in flight shots except an ovipositing female. While watching her, I found a pair in cop which is something I have never seen before. Although the light wasn't in a perfect direction, I was able to get a shot that I am more than happy with especially as this is not commonly seen, mostly occurring high in the tree tops. There were plenty of Four-spotted Chasers around too and many ovipositing pairs. When the female oviposits, the male flies around her in a protection mode to fight off other males. This gives the best opportunities for in flight shots. Unfortunately, this was when the sun went behind a cloud which caused my camera's ISO to shoot up hence increasing image noise. A pair of Broad-bodied Chasers made an appearance and ovipositing ensued. I still have a few spaces on my field trip here for 13 June so if you would like to come along, please contact me. This is a permit only site so there is no access to the public (the site is also locked!). 

At Maxey Pits, I saw fewer Variable Damselflies than usual, mostly males and 1 female, with one pair fleetingly seen in tandem. I visit this site about once per year around this time, so I haven't hit the end of their season and hope this is just a blip and doesn't indicate the start of a decline in the species. Plenty of Common Blues, Blue-tails and Azures.

My final stop was at Wadenhoe looking for Scarce Chasers. None were in evidence, but by  now it was 1600hrs and a bit breezy so they may have gone to roost for the evening. What did surprise me was the number of Red Kites around. I often see 4-5 here, but today there were around 30 (I did try to count) and I wondered whether they were breeding and the young had just fledged. They were clearly visible over the manor house from the Mill car park.

Chris Emary reports Beautiful Demoiselles at their usual sites on the River Tove near Towcester at Greens Norton.

Female White-legged Damselfly

Male White-legged Damselfly

Four-spotted Chaser

Downy Emeralds in-cop

Tandem Large Red Damselflies

Rufescens form female Blue-tailed Damselfly

Male Variable Damselfly