Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Sightings for 16th June 2009

I visited Roves Farm scrape by the River Cole in the afternoon, in the hope of finding an early Ruddy Darter - no luck there. But even though the scrape had dwindled to two muddy pools it was heaving with odonata!
Black-tailed Skimmers were everywhere, from territorial males, to mating couples and a female making her maiden flight! Must have been about 20-25 of them.
Also about 7 male Broad-bodied Chasers were on territory having constant battles with the 8-10 Four-spotted Chasers present too. A poor female BB Chaser was trying to quietly lay her eggs but was being constantly harassed by pumped up males trying to mate with her - this even included a male 4-spot [well, I suppose she does look a bit like a fat version of a 4-spot!]I tried a first attempt at in-flight shots of dragonflies using her as the subject. I don't think they turned out too bad [though they'll never be competition winners;o)]
Above all this mayhem patrolled 2 serene male Emperors.
Damselflies present included loads of Common Blue, Azure and Red-eyed Damselflies. Plus a few Blue-tailed [not sure if there are less of them or if they are just better at hiding!].
Finally, as I walked along the short accessible stretch of the River Cole that is near the scrape, I saw 4 male and 1 female Banded Demoiselles - plus a single White-legged Damselfly. Numbers of the latter species seem to have been dropping at this site during the past 3 to 4 years. It may be that the succession of summer flash flooding has scoured the banks clear of the lush emergent vegetation that this species loves....
But not a bad tally for just over an hour at the end of the afternoon.

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