Sunday, 9 April 2017

Crowle/Thorne Moors,Sunday 09.04.2017.

A visit today in hope of seeing some emergent Large-red Damsel's certainly paid dividends,after a recent report from Crowle late last week on the BDS website.
 On arrival at the site i had already walked along much suitable habitat and drawn a blank,but after the sun had gained some height and the air temp soared i walked along the edge of Will Pitts Scrape on Thorne Moors and managed to find at least 29 individuals.
 To say i was chuffed was an understatement,as these are the earliest Large-red's i have ever seen in 15 years recording Odonata.
 The majority of individuals were teneral's,but i did come across a few mature insects.
 Crowle Moor held even more,with a respectable 54 individuals being found,of course in the ensuing weeks this will multiply into thousands and i will certainly be back,clicker's at the ready.
 A great visit and great to get back in the swing of recording this fantastic family of predatory insects.
Female Large-red Damselfly Of The Form 'Typica',Thorne Moors NNR.

Female Large-red Damselfly Of The Form 'Typica',Thorne Moors NNR.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Frampton RSPB Small red-eyes,Sunday 31st July 2016.

While visiting this fantastic reserve situated on the Lincolnshire side of the Wash,i was searching for a family party of Turtle Doves when i chanced upon 1 female and then 5 male Small red-eyed Damselflies sheltering along a stretch of hedgerow at the western end of the farm reservoir.
 The adjacent reservoir looks ideal with some large mats of algae on the surface which the species tends to favour.
 After speaking to site manager John Badley,the species had been recorded about 5 years ago in a separate area of the reserve and may have colonised the reservoir in the mean time,but they also may be fresh immigrants.The species still has not established itself properly in the north of the county as far as i'm aware.
 The species was originally found at three sites on the Essex coast as recent as 1999.
A delicate little species compared to it's larger cousin.This individual is resting on a Sycamore leaf.

Features to look for on close inspection include the tomato red eyes,paler legs than Red-eyed Damsel,diffuse antehumeral stripe on the black side/top to the thorax and short spur with a dot on the thorax side.

Comparison photo of Small red-eyed Damselfly above and Red-eyed Damselfly below.

Monday, 30 May 2016

The River Eau,North West Lincolnshire,Sunday 29th May 2016.

A visit to day to monitor the Variable Damselfly population,resulted in the weather unfortunately throwing a spanner in the works,not for the first time this year.
 The River Eau is a small river running inland from the River Trent just outside the small village of Susworth and has been a site i try to visit annually to try and count the breeding species present,the most important of which is the Variable Damselfly population.Today unfortunately was a disappointment due to the crap forecast.It had promised sunshine by 9 am,but it sadly didn't arrive until 12.
 Anyway i stuck at it and covered both banks up to and back from Beggars Hill Bridge and managed a very paltry two species,thankfully this included 24 Variable Damsels and a very small count of 4 Blue-tailed Damsels.
 The majority of the Variables were males making up about 80% of the insects counted.
 In all honesty,i think another visit is in order in better weather conditions to try and get a truer picture of numbers of species,as in past years it has been a pretty productive site.
Mature male Variable Damselfly.

Mature male Variable Damselfly.

Some interesting variation in the male Variables.

Female 'Blue Form' Variable Damselfly.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Crowle Big Count,Monday 16th May 2016.

At last,today,saw me eventually getting out and doing some surveying after weeks of unpredictable weather.
 I decided to cover Crowle and i hoped that today's visit would be productive,but little did i know the huge numbers of particularly,Four-spot Chasers that i would encounter.
 Three species were observed today and were all my personal first sightings of the year for each and included Large-red and Azure Damselflies and the afore mentioned Four-spot Chaser.
 The following counts achieved for Large-red Damselfly and Four-spot Chaser were personal largest counts for each species.
 The following are what species and numbers were recorded:

Large-red Damselfly - 2186
Azure Damselfly - 3
Four-spot Chaser - 306
Male Large-red Damselfly.

Immature Azure Damselfly.

Female Four-spot Chaser.

Female Four-spot Chaser.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

2016 And The New Season Ahead.....

Well i sit at home now,nearly in mid April and thinking about the forthcoming 'New' odonata season and what great sightings it will bring and if it is anything as productive as last year i will be in for a great time.
 Currently we havn't really had any settled dry weather in North Linc's so i'm not expecting anything on the wing just yet,but i see the south of the country has already recorded their first Large-red Damsels.
 So here's to another great season to all my fellow recorders and 'Dragonheads' out there.

Male Large-red Damselfly,Crowle NNR,04.06.2011.

Four-spotted Chaser,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR,13.07.2015.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Emerald Damselfly Mixed Pairing With Blue-tailed Damselfly.

While visiting Crowle Moor last year on the 11th July,i photographed a male Emerald Damselfly which had clasped a male Blue-tailed Damselfly which was part of a pair of Blue-tails which were already mating.Great record i thought at the time and an interesting piece of behaviour,one of which i had never observed before in Odonata.
 Fast forward 5 months and i was contacted by Bryan Pickass  and the editor of Atropos magazine Mark Tunmore and told the amazing news,i had observed a first occurrence for the UK.Unbelievably,my humble photo and record is the first time that a mixed pairing between the two species has ever been documented.
 Talk about pleased,i was over the moon about this and a write up and photo will be appearing in the next issue of Atropos Magazine and just goes to show the rewards from watching and learning about this fantastic group of predatory insects.I now look forward to starting the 'New' season in a few months time.
Male Emerald Damselfly Clasping a mating pair of Blue-tailed Damselflies,Crowle Moor,11.07.2015.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

2015.....A Year In Dragonflies.

So as another dragonfly season closes,my 15th as a dragonfly recorder,2015 turned out to be a great year,with my 40th and 41st species being observed along with many other nice sightings along the way.

The season began in April with record numbers of Large-red Damselflies being counted on the superb NNR that encompasses Crowle and Thorne Moors.The 1044 individuals counted on this day are just the tip of the iceberg on this huge site and it was a great way to kick off the new season.
Female large-red Damselfly,Crowle Moor NNR.

The 30th of May saw me travelling over to Staffordshire to visit the superb Chartley Moss to see the enigmatic White-faced Darter.It wasn't the greatest weather on my visit,but it was great to encounter this rare Darter again.
Immature male White-faced Darter,Chartley Moss NNR,Staffordshire.

A trip to the local dragonfly patch on the 6th June saw some good numbers being recorded,with 23 Hairy's being located around the reserve with my 2nd personal sighting of Banded Demoiselle for the site,with a male being seen near to the car park,the last was a female seen on the 11th July 2010.
Female Hairy Dragonfly,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.

Male Banded Demoiselle,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.

July proved to be a very productive month with a series of good visits along with birding buddy Tim Cowley to firstly Norfolk,visiting Strumpshaw Fen and How Hill on the 4th,Crowle Moor on the 12th and then the superb North Yorkshire sites of Fen Bog and Forge Valley on the 18th.With many good sightings including such mouth watering species as Norfolk Hawker,Scarce Chaser,Common Hawker,Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Keeled Skimmer.But the month finished even better with the Dragon patch at Messingham providing me with my rarest find so far in my 15 years recording,a cracking male Lesser Emperor.It was watched zooming about near to the duck hide,but was gone within hours and sadly not seen again....just reward for all the hours put in!.
Male Norfolk Hawker,Strumpshaw Fen RSPB,Norfolk.

Male Scarce Chaser,Strumpshaw RSPB,Norfolk.

Female Golden-ringed Dragonfly,Fen Bog YWTR.

Female Keeled Skimmer,Fen Bog YWTR.

Male Beautiful Demoiselle,Forge Valley SSSI,North Yorkshire.

August began with a bang,with Tim and myself making the long journey south to Essex to visit Wat Tyler Country Park on the Thames Estuary on the 8th and adding my rarest dragonfly species to date in the form of 3 Southern-migrant Hawker.They put on a fantastic showing with 2 males and a female being seen.This blue eyed stunner is very rare in britain and is beginning to get a toe hold over here and long may it continue.
 A big count of Common Darters at Messingham on the 23rd numbering 108 individuals was certainly encouraging after several poor years.
Male Southern-migrant Hawker,Wat Tyler CP,Essex.

Male Southern-migrant hawker,Wat tyler CP,Essex.

Male Southern-migrant Hawker,Wat Tyler CP,Essex.

Female Southern-migrant Hawker,Wat Tyler CP,Essex.

Immature male Common Darter,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.

Just when i thought the season was over for another year,a very kind offer from fellow Hessle lad,Barry Warrington to visit his home to see my second new species of the year,a stonking female Vagrant Emperor.Barry had found this mega rare dragon in his garden while playing football with this son and just goes to show rare dragons can turn up anywhere.This species orginates in Sub-Saharan Africa,so was a long way from home,but what a great way to end the year on such a high.Let's hope 2016 is as half as good as this year!.
Female Vagrant Emperor,Hessle,East Yorkshire.