Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Variable Damselfly at Irthlingborough Lakes

Dragonflies have been very thin on the ground recently, due in no small part to the poor weather. The only species reported in the last week is the Black-tailed Skimmer. I took a walk around the pits surrounding the Visitor Center at Stanwick Lakes on Sunday hoping to find some Skimmers emerging. I did find an exuvia on the boating lake and several adults around the gravel area by the Boating Lake, including a pair in-cop. None were happy to be photographed though. Around these lakes, I estimated there were in excess of 2000 Common Blue Damselflies, with many hundreds emerging - the reeds are littered with exuviae. There were also hundreds of Blue-tailed Damselflies with many pairs in-cop. 

The White-legged Damselflies on the Ise at Harrowden and by Weetabix are holding out well, with many blue males now present. The Black-tailed Skimmer I saw last week is still there, in the same spot too!

At the Greenway, Irthlingborough Lakes today, despite 21 degrees temperature, the lack of sunshine kept activity low. One Black-tailed Skimmer was seen on the path, but around the left-hand ditch activity was low. However, as the title of this post shows I was stunned to find a male Variable Damselfly, the first sighting of this species in Northants this year. This species is enigmatic and its habitat requirements are not well understood. There may be a small colony in one of the ditches here and I will be surveying more in the next few days in the hope of finding them. If any blog readers visit the site, please check every single Blue damselfly just in case!! I will inform the Wildlife Trust who manage this site and hope to get permission to search in off-limits areas. Please also keep an eye out in surrounding areas.

Blue-tailed Damselflies mating

Blue-tailed Damselflies mating

Male White-legged Damselfly, River Ise public footpath by Weetabix

Variable Damselfly, Greenway at Irthlingborough Lakes