Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A Late Large Red

I have visited a few sites in the last week or so hoping to find a Migrant Hawker with no success so far, however there are always plenty of other species to see of course.

The ditch at Irthlingborough continues to entertain and I was able to get a few shots of the Small Red-eyes in their mating wheel, something I haven't managed before. Normally Small Red-eyes perch some distance from the bank, but thus narrow ditch gives great close-up views. Small Red-eyes are a also present across the A45 in the Pocket park and on the large lake just over the footbridge, I managed my first shot of this species on land, another shot I haven't managed before. It looks like a good year for this species!.

Numbers of Ruddy Darters are building well along with Emerald Damselflies. I visited Cransley reservoir for the first time in several years and was pleased to see that both of these are still breeding there. I should have gone earlier to check that the Hairys were still present so will make a note for next year. This is a large reservoir and I estimated 5000+ Common Blues!

The Beautiful Demoiselle is again present on the Brampton Valley Way and Harleston Heath near the golf course where David Warner recorded 13 adults on a small section of stream. Graham Martin sent a photo of a female seen in Salcey Forest.

At Yardley Chase on Saturday, I saw a lonely Large Red and a single Downy Emerald, both good late dates for their respective species.

Keep an eye out for Migrants, there must be some around!

Mating Small Red-eyed Damselflies

Male Small Red-eyed Damselfly (on land!)

Female Emerald Damselfly

Female Ruddy Darter

Male Ruddy Darter

Female Ruddy Darter

Female Ruddy Darter

Old Male Four-spotted Chaser

Male Large red Damselfly


Sunday, 12 July 2015

More Small Red-eyed Damslflies

I couldn't resist another trip to Irthlingborough on Friday to see more Small Red-eyed Damselflies. I brought along Tony from work too. There were plenty more about and we were lucky enough to find several pairs ovipositing. I hope that numbers increase over the next few weeks and will keep an eye on the population. In the air, the Emperor was showing well along with Four-spotted Chasers and Black-tailed Skimmers.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Two more species, still one to go.

The Greenway ditch at Irthlingborough is fast becoming this year's favourite site. Despite a slow start on my arrival, it ended up buzzing with 12 species. Two male Emperors hawked up and down, frequently harassed by a few Four-spotted Chasers. One of the males behaved nicely in front of my camera allowing a few good in flight shots. A couple of Brown Hawkers put in an appearance too, but didn't stay too long. I disturbed about 10 emergent Common Darters, but their flitting flight from perch to perch didn't allow any photos. I think they sensed I was stalking them, and as they are vulnerable to predation at this stage, they were keen to avoid being lunch. A single male Hairy scooted low down, with strong flight suggesting he has more life left in him which is good for 9 July. The latest I have seen Hairys is 14 July, which may be beaten this year. On the water's surface, plenty of Blue-tailed Damselflies were ovipositing, joined by a few pairs of Azures with Common Blues in the grasses. I spotted a single male Red-eye and hoped it was the Small Red-eye, but it was the "large" version, however I didn't have to wait long before I found the first of around 10 Small Red-eyes, which is earlier than usual as they normally appear after Migrant Hawkers. Black-tailed Skimmers buzzed around the muddy banks and an Emerald Damselfly flitted from reed to reed. No Broad-bodied Chasers appeared, which is a shame after the numbers seen in the preceding weeks. Still, 12 species for this ditch is a good score.

Rufescens-obsoleta form female Blue-tailed Damselfly ovipositing

Emerald Damselfly

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Androchrome (male-like) form female Blue-tailed Damselfly ovipositing




Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Dragonflies don't like this heat

I arrived at work around 0755 and 23 degrees and stopped on the bridge across the River Ise from the car park. There was a female Emperor hawking around and 50+ Banded Demoiselles. By lunchtime, with temps around 35 degrees, the river had no activity. I went to Irthlingborough again to look for more Scarce Chasers, but perhaps the high temp kept them away. Along the new ditch, there were 8 Emperors including one ovipositing female. The males were hawking very low down, perhaps 5-10cm above the water instead of their usual ~1m. Their flights were brief, lasting 1-2mins before they would stop and rest up overhanging the water in shady sections, I managed a shot of one before he flew further away. Here they were clashing with the Broad-bodied Chasers and Black-tailed Skimmers. I guess this behaviour was a mechanism to retain their territories but not overheat in the high temps, which must have been 45+ in the sun. Activity was certainly lower than expected and I think the high temps were too much for them.

Tony Vials reports the first Brown Hawker, at Irthlingborough.

Male Emperor

Four-spotted Chaser

Black-tailed Skimmer

Black-tailed Skimmer