Thursday, 15 June 2017

18 Species down, 5 to go

I can hardly believe we are not quite in summer, yet we have only 5 species to go to complete the County list of 23. I know this is always the case at this time of year, but it still surprises me! The three new species added since my last update are: Ruddy Darter, Variable Damselfly and Brown Hawker.

Stanwick Lakes is showing a good number of species now, with plenty of Black-tailed Skimmers and Scarce Chasers now showing. You have to go to the Nene at the back of the reserve from the lock to the footbridge to see the Chasers, but the Skimmers are viewable on the gravel paths around the main ponds by the visitor centre. Hairy Dragonflies are also showing here. During an evening walk, I lucked upon an immature Ruddy Darter in amongst several roosting Common Blue Damselflies, which came as a pleasant surprise as thye are not common here.

James Underwood has been busy, and has recorded our first sighting of Scarce Chasers egg-laying on the Nene near Oundle Marina. In 10 years to studying them in Northants, I have yet to see one egg laying. James also recorded many White-legged Damselflies on the Welland in the Gretton area.

John Windust saw the first Brown Hawker of the year at Irthlingborough lakes.

I have recently visited Yardley Chase to photograph the Downy Emeralds with some success, see photos below.

There have been many reports of an major influx of Red-veined Darters into the UK, with sightings spread out across the UK, including our neighbour Warwickshire. There are only a couple of suitable sites in Northants for this species, and the flooded quarry at Old Sulehay is one of them. Alas, despite many Black-tailed Skimmers, I didn't see any Darters there. I moved onto Maxey Pits for my annual view of the Variable Damselflies, and counted around 20 males and 1 female. In previous years there has been access to the water where I have seen egg laying, however now this area is overgrown, so the best views are in the grasses along the footpath.

Immature Ruddy Darter, Stanwick Lakes

Immature female Blue-tailed Damselfly, violacea colour form, Irthlingborough Lakes

Tandem pair of Blue-tailed Damselflies, female of the andromorph colour form, Irthlingborough Lakes

Male Downy Emerald, Yardley Chase

Male Downy Emerald, Yardley Chase

Male Downy Emerald, Yardley Chase

Broad-bodied Chaser, Twywell Hills & Dales

Four-spotted Chaser, Yardley Chase

Black-tailed Skimmer, Old Sulehay quarry

Female Variable Damselfly, Maxey Pits

Male Variable Damselfly, Maxey Pits