Friday, 2 December 2011

Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) in Wiltshire!

I recently received a report [which I have now confirmed] of a Hairy Dragonfly seen back on 22nd May by Tom Smith. This was during a joint Wilts/Dorset Butterfly Conservation survey of parts of Chase Woods, right in the far South-west of the county. The sighting was just within Wiltshire along Bridmore Ride. This is the first recent record of the species in Wiltshire, the last being back in the early 1960's at Braydon Pond! Whether this is a wandering individual or the start of a possible colony remains to be seen. There is a golf course adjacent with water features and drainage ditches; Brachytron is expanding it's range nationally so this space!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) Male

One of the Common Darters Damian saw on Friday 25th November at Chippenham Pond.
Maybe the last as we had a frost last night...?

Friday, 25 November 2011

Still on the wing!

Damian Pinguey just phoned to say he's watching 4 male Common Darters still flying at the Pond behind the Volvo garage off the A4 in Chippenham. Will check the database later but getting very close to the latest date....!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) Pair

Damian Pinguey visited The Pond at Chippenham on Saturday where he found this mating pair of Common Darters and also a patrolling Migrant Hawker [which failed to stop and be photographed!].

Friday, 18 November 2011

Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) ♂.

The male Southern Hawker at rest [plus other shots of him on my photostream].

Late Fliers

First of all, apologies for the lack of reports through the summer; various reasons - not least of which was the rubbish summer we had!
I hope to present a round-up some time during the Winter.
Yesterday I and Chris Beard, a fellow photographer, visited Savernake Forest looking for subjects to point our lenses at - fungi and, hopefully, Odonata! Well we never got as far as the fungi as we were distracted early on at the Column Pool by several mature male Common Darters and a late Southern Hawker male! I even coaxed the Hawker onto my finger where I'm sure he soaked up the warmth which enabled him to continue hunting!
Not the latest date for Southern Hawker, but getting close!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Scarce Chaser on the Salisbury Avon!

I have just received a record from the Kent odonata recorders [John and Gill Brook], who were visiting the area on 29th May. They were walking the Avon Valley Path just West of Woodfalls and spotted a female Scarce Chaser by the side of the path! This is only 1.5kms East of the Salisbury Avon, which suggests the population on this river in Hampshire may be expanding Northwards! I ask that anyone who lives or visits the area has a look at the river here to see if they are on territory there. I will try and get down but it's at the opposite end of the county to me [60 odd miles away!!] Many thanks to Jill for adding this important sighting to the Living Records website:o)

School Dragonfly Recording Group

Yesterday I was delighted to receive a letter from Sherston C 0f E Primary School. The Headteacher, Nicholas Bowditch, explained that they have recently formed a dragonfly recording group as part of their studies of the school pond they created just over a year ago. Their school recorder, Theo Griffin, has been entering observations on the BDS form and I received the first of these with the letter.
This is doubly exciting - not only that a school is taking specific interest in odonata but that these records, of 3 species, constitute the first sightings from that particular 10k square for the current Atlas Project time period!
I look forward to more records and observations from them - perhaps we have some professional naturalists in the making...:o)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

11th June 2011.

Rather belated in adding this - but Damian Pinguey visited the pond at Chippenham on Saturday where, as well as a Broad-bodied Chaser,4-spot Chaser, Azure and Blue-tailed Damsels, he saw a semi-mature Black-tailed Skimmer. The first to be reported to me this year though no doubt there are plenty about - particularly in the CWP. Surprisingly there was no Emperor present as they are usually a constant feature at the pond at this time of year! This mixed weather is possibly having some odd effects on emergences.

Monday, 23 May 2011

19th May 2011

Records sent in by Paul Winter from Cadnam Common [in modern Hampshire but in VC8 for recording purposes] included territorial male Emperor Dragonflies clashing and a mature male Keeled Skimmer on territory! Both new for the year. Paul's photo can be seen at:

Friday, 13 May 2011

Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva) ♀.

A late afternoon visit, in sun, to Conigre Mead nature reserve, Melksham produced 4 male and 2 female Scarce Chasers. All tenerals, these were my first for the year. It will be interesting to see if the work on the Sainsbury's extension will affect their recent local colonisation of the Bristol Avon through Melksham. But I fear that the proposed route of the Wilts & Berks Canal restoration will have a more profound impact...
Also present were a few teneral White-legged Damselflies, a few Azure Damsels and many roosting Banded Demoiselles.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes)Teneral ♂.

Another new species for the year! I found 3 females, freshly emerged, and this teneral male at Tockenham Reservoir near Wootton Bassett. Still water is an unusual habitat for this species but they may have come from the small feeder stream running into the lake.

Friday 6th May 2011.

During my lunch break today I visited a stretch of the River Marden, a tributary of the Bristol Avon. Rob Turner, while bird ringing here last year, saw a Golden-ringed Dragonfly! I thought that if that species was here then it was a good bet that Beautiful Demoiselle ought to be too - and so it proved to be. I found 5 males and 9 females, all immature in herbage adjacent to the river. This stretch is near the Calne Sewage Treatment Works and, despite that, is a very picturesque location!
So I was pleased to add a new dot to the Wiltshire map - and possibly the first sighting of this species this year.

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo).Immature ♂.

One of 5 males found at this new Wiltshire location.

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo). Immature ♀.

One of 9 females found at the new location.

River Marden.

River Marden., originally uploaded by od0man.

The new site location for Beautiful Demoiselle - adjacent to the Calne Sewage Treatment Works!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Green Lane Wood, Nr. Trowbridge

While searching for Longhorn Beetles at the above wood, my friend Dave Brotheridge, found a teneral male Scarce Chaser in one of the rides. This is the first reported sighting of this species for the year and, as with most insects this Spring, much earlier than normal! The Bristol Avon is not too far away and the wood is used every year as a maturation site.
I'm sure other species, such as Beautiful Demoiselle, are already on the wing too. It just needs someone to visit the known sites to confirm this...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) ♂.

The first Wiltshire Banded Demoiselle of the year [unless you know different!]. I discovered this and a few more while carrying out an odonata survey of the Waterhay area of the Cotswold Water Park. Including the young Thames.
Also seen were hundreds of thousands of Common Blue Damsels; Blue-tailed, Large Red, Azure and Red-eyed Damselflies. Plus several 4-spot Chasers.

Tuesday 3rd May, 2011.

Clattinger Farm - Cotswold Water Park
I visited the above area of the CWP today to see if I could see some of the Downy Emerald mass emergence reported on the BDS 'Hot News' page. I wasn't disappointed! I was able to see and photograph my first Wiltshire female Downy:o)) I saw at least 3 at Clattinger and 5 at Swillbrook. Also present were thousands of Common Blue, Azure Blue and hundreds of Red-eyed Damselflies. Plus several 4-spot Chasers and a single teneral Broad-bodied Chaser.
There were also thousands of Green-winged Orchids in flower in one of the meadows at Clattinger - a wonderful sight!!

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea) immature♀.

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) ♂.

Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) ♂.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

1st May. Swillbrook Lakes, CWP.

Andy Cornell sent me [among other pics] a photo of a 4-spot Chaser seen at the above on Sunday. The first for the year. Thanks Andy:o)

Monday, 2 May 2011

Large Red Damselfly (Pyhrrosoma nymphula) ♂.

One of the mature Large Red Damsels I saw along with the Broad-bodied Chasers on the 28th April.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa).Teneral ♂.

My first of the year! Two males and a female by the Column Pool in Savernake Forest. Along with several mature Large Red Damselflies, including tandem pairs and ovipositing pairs.
This male was disturbed from marginal vegetation so this was probably his maiden flight! The exuvia was found nearby.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Broad Bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) Female

Image of said BB Chaser as promised. A lovely shot by Damian.

First dragonfly sighting of the year!

Damian Pinguey reported seeing a teneral Broad-bodied Chaser this afternoon - at Morgan's Hill Wilts Wildlife Trust's chalk downland reserve! I can only imagine there must be a water feature somewhere on the adjacent golf course from which it may have emerged! Pic to follow - hopefully.
If you've seen a dragonfly in the last few days to beat this sighting please let me know.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) ♂

Tucked in amongst all those Common Blues was this surprise. Not only my second species for the year - but a mature individual too!!

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) teneral male.

My first Odonate species of the year! At CWP 95. At least 50 were roosting in the scrub near the lake - varying from semi mature to very teneral.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) Teneral Male

Damian managed to get a shot of one the following day at the same site. Still not seen any yet - but then the weather is not conducive to insect hunting at the moment...!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The New Season is off to an early start!

Hi all.
First of all, apologies for lack of news during the latter part of last year - various reasons I won't bore you with! I hope to keep the blog more current this year.
Now for the good news - Damian Pinguey reported seeing a semi-mature Large Red Damselfly at the amenity pond in Chippenham on Friday 8th April. This pond is always a good bet to get early sightings of species. It's very shallow and so the water warms up quickly so speeding up larval development!
The other news is that I've 'adopted' a new recording system, developed by Adrian Bicker of the Dorset Dragonfly Group. This system is based online and uses Google maps, so making record input much easier. It also provides instant feedback to the recorder as, once you've entered a record, you can go back in in map mode and view your 'dot' on the map in relation to other records already entered. I hope those of you who send me records might like to use this system [called Living Record]. If so, let me know and I'll set you up with an account. I have entered over 900 records from previous years so far so you can see where more recording effort is required - we have only 2 more recording seasons before the Atlas needs to be produced!!
The weather is reverting back to the norm after today - lets hope the warm conditions will return soon...