Sunday, 28 May 2017

May Bank Holiday

I have received lots of records this week, mainly through the Northants Dragonflies facebook group, as well as adding my own.

Darryl Sutcliffe reported this year's first Beautiful Demoiselle on the Brampton Valley Nene, with records of adults around the Brampton Holt railway station. Based on this I visited Hanging Houghton and found 4 (3 females and a male) along the footpath heading north towards the A508. Pete Burditt report adults in the Boughton Grange area.

John Showers, Northants Diptera Recorder, visited Ditchford Lakes and saw the year's first Emperor and more excitingly an immature Scarce Chaser in the meadow. I hope this signifies that they have reached this far downstream. 

Bucknell Woods was visited by David James, who saw Four-spotted Chaser, Broad-bodied Chaser and an Emperor.

The River Nene is still producing Scarce Chasers. I visited Lilford from 0700-0830hrs on Friday and recorded a couple emerging along with Banded Demoiselle. This is really a magical time to visit the river, especially on a sunny morning. We took a boat trip north from Oundle Marina to Ashton and counted over 30 Scarce Chasers, 5 mating pairs and around 20 Hairy Dragonflies along with the usual demoiselles and damselflies.

James Underwood visited Gretton weir and recorded the first White-legged Damselflies, along with Red-eyes, Banded Demoiselles, Large Reds.

Immature male Beautiful Demoiselle, Brampton Valley Way near Hanging Houghton

Emerging Banded Demoiselle, River Nene Lilford

Emerging Banded Demoiselle, River Nene, Lilford

Dew-laden female Banded Demoiselle River Nene Lilford

Emerging ma;e Scarce Chaser, River Nene, Lilford

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