Sunday, 21 May 2017

Scarce Chasers on the Nene

Mid May is probably my favourite time in the dragonfly season, even though it has barely begun. At this time, we get to see mass emergence of the so-called spring species - Four-spotted Chaser, Downy Emeralds and Scarce Chasers. On Saturday 18th I went to the Nene at Wadenhoe hoping to catch an emergence sequence of a Scarce Chaser. I was a little late, but I did witness 15 adults freshly emerged and taking their maiden flights. Many Banded Demoiselle were present too.

Darryl Sutcliffe reports seeing Scarce Chasers emerging at Thorpe Waterville, and a up upstream on the Nene in our new boat revealled 3 freshly emerged adults in the Oundle area. We also saw three Hairy Dragonflies and many Banded Demoiselles too on our 2 hour trip.

Elsewhere, Glyn Pacan reports Hairy Dragonflies on the gullet at Twywell Hills and Dales, and James Underwood reports Four-spotted Chasers emerging at Barnwell Country Park and Four-spotted Chasers, Large Red, Red-eyed and Blue-tailed Damselflies at Priors Hall and Weldon.

One of my targets for this year is to capture a full emergence sequence for a dragonfly and a damselfly. I have already posted the damselfly, so here is my sequence of a Four-spotted Chaser emerging.

Male Scarce Chaser

Female Scarce Chaser

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Four-spotted Chaser & Downy Emeralds start to appear

I took an early morning trip to Yardley Chase hoping to catch a full emergence sequence, but it was actually very quiet. Perhaps the overnight ran put many off emerging. I did however find this pre-flight emergent Downy Emerald, although I missed all but the final stage before its first flight. Also showing were many Large Reds and Azures as well as a few Blue-tailed Damselflies

John Showers reported seeing the first Four-spotted Chaser on 13 May, while Roland Bogush reports seeing immature Red-eyed Damselflies at Sywell Country Park.

Pre-flight emergent male Downy Emerald

Male Large Red Damselfly

Immature female Azure Damselfly

Sunday, 7 May 2017

More records

Tony Vials reported seeing dozens of Banded Demoiselle on the River Nene at Irthlingborough Lakes, and I saw them too, about 15, the following day at Wadenhoe. Tony also reports seeing several Blue-tailed Damselflies, Common Blues and Red-eyed Damselflies as well as 2 Azures and 3 Hairy Drgaonflies.

More Hairys emerged at Ditchford this week, along with the usual damselflies.

Jeff Blincow reports seeing two Broad-bodied Chasers in the Yardley Hastings area, bringing the County total to 7 so far.

Recently emerged female Red-eyed Damselfly, Ditchford

Recently emerged female Hairy Dragonfly, Ditchford

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A bit of movement

Doug Goddard reports finding emerging Common Blues at Summer Leys, so I expect the Hairys have begun to appear there too. I understand from others that Hobbies are now regularly seen regularly at Summer Leys, presumably on the expectation of feasting on the dragonflies. I have never seen a Hobby catch a dragonfly so I hope to capture one on-camera this year.

Elsewhere at Fermyn Woods, Roland Bogush found some recently emerged Large Red Damselflies.

At Ditchford, I have yet to see an emerging Hairy, but I did find two more exuviae. Only two though, which quite surprised me as I was expecting more. Anyway, I did find a teneral female Azure Damselfly and many Red-eyes in amoungst the Common Blues. Numbers here are still low but building well. A good period of settled weather should see more emergence. A good spot to see these immature Damselflies is the meadow at the back of the main lake, just before the second lake, where you can see the building works for the new Rushden Lakes shopping centre. Damselflies use the grasses to mature and many immatures can be seen flying around this area. I am sure there are some Blue-tailed Damselflies here, but I have yet to ID any.

Don't forget the Northants Dragonflies group on facebook, where you can post your photos and sightings.

Here's an arty picture of a Common Blue and a close-up of a Red-eyed Damselfly.

Immature Red-eyed Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Still pretty slow out there

No new Hairys emerged at Ditchford and I could only find one emerging Common Blue Damselfly. The chilly spell, which is now at an end apparently has certainly pushed things back a bit. Still, this coming week has promises of better, warmer weather and I am expecting a surge in emergence!

PS, don't forget my new facebook group where you can sign up and post your own photos and sightings.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A chilly spell

With arctic weather blowing around the county, I decided to take a walk around Ditchford Lakes this lunchtime in my shorts and t-shirt!. I found 4 Hairy Dragonfly exuviae and two emergent Common Blue Damselflies. No Hairy adults were in evidence, so I guess they may have emerged over the weekend or at least yesterday. We are still showing a slow start compared to other counties, and the warmer weather predicted for later this week should see more emergees.

Hairy Dragonfly exuvia

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The 2017 season starts (at last)

I've been following the emergence of several species in other counties with some jealousy over the last few weeks, where Large Reds, Hairys, Downy Emeralds, Variables, and Four-spots have all been have seen. Despite some searching I haven't been able to find anything, so we are way behind others and have some catching up to do.

Luckily, I received an email from Doug Goddard that Pete Sharpe found a Large Red in Castle Ashby gardens on 20 April, marking the first record in Northants. At last!

I went out on 22 April to Yardley Chase and found around 20 Large Reds, some emerging and some taking their first flights. I was lucky enough to find this female emerging in a good spot to capture. The sun was quite variable, and it was great to watch, lying flat out in the damp pond margins.

I have created a facebook group to promote Northants Dragonflies, so if any blog readers are on facebook please join the group and post sightings and photos. This blog will mirror what's on facebook and both will run side-by-side.