Saturday, 23 September 2017

Ovipositing Willow Emeralds

I took a quick trip to Finedon on a very sunny Friday (22 Sept) and had to return for a 1 0'clock meeting. I saw only one Willow Emerald, on the small Willow on the far bank near the wet Willows. This is my first sighting on this tree. The male quickly disappeared before I could take a shot of it, and I saw no more, so concentrated on the ovipositing Common Darters instead. There were around 25 pairs, egg-laying in groups around suitable spots and I let my camera rip trying to get some decent shots of them. As I rushed back to car, I passed Jim Dunkley headed towards the pond, and guess what, he quickly located a tandem pair who went on the oviposit into the stems of the wet Willows, and Jim captured the great shots below. I hope the warm weather predicted in the coming week leads to more sightings of the elusive Emeralds.

Egg-laying Willow Emeralds (photo by Jim Dunkley)

Egg-laying Willow Emeralds (photo by Jim Dunkley)

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Red-veined Darter

I received a note that a record had been posted on Twitter by Jacob Spinks of  an immature make Red-veined Darter at Pitsford Reservoir. The location was a shallow pool in a bund area from the main reservoir. The photo doesn't show a teneral, but the male was yellow so definitely immature. This is suggestive that breeding occurred earlier this year during the major influx of this species. No others have been seen. Red-veined Darters can crop up anywhere, and this is an out-of-the-way site so its not surprising that adults weren't seen here in June.

At Ditchford and Summer Leys plenty of Migrant Hawkers are buzzing around the main lake alongside Common Darters, Red-eyed Damselflies and Common Blue Damselflies.

At Finedon, Willow Emeralds are still around, but still in low numbers. I succeeded in finding fresh egg-laying scars in the central willow tree, about 3-3.5m up.

On sunday 17 Sept, James Underwood reports seeing Banded Demoiselle on a stream at Weldon. This is an unusually late date for Demoiselles.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Spot the Willow Emerald

I've bumped into a few people at Finedon looking for the Willow Emeralds, many without success. They are very hard to find and require a lot of effort, mainly because of their habit of perching amoung the Willow trees and that their green bodies are well camouflaged against the leaves. Numbers are still low, I have only ever seen 2-3 males at a time, further adding to the difficulties in seeing them. Today I saw 2 males in the submerged Willows, perched on dead branches. They do move around often and this is perhaps the best way to see them as their movement catches the eye. I have seen other species such as Darters disturb them, but they frequently return to the same branch, or one of several. I have even seen territorial behaviour between two males, when one nearly ended up in the water. There is still plenty of time until their season ends, so if you haven't seen them yet keep trying.

Fresh egg-laying scars in the Willow branches

Territorial Male on a dead Willow branch

Spot the Willow Emerald!!
Crop of the above shot