Saturday, 12 May 2012
A day of drama!
After the heads up from Chris about emerging Downy Emeralds at Lower Moor Farm, yesterday, I thought I'd try my luck today as I've never seen this species emerging before. I arrived at the location at 9.30am only to find the wind had changed from West [yesterday] to NE today and so the spot, instead of being in the lee of the wind was taking the full brunt of the freezing gusts! I despaired of seeing anything - then by chance noticed one emerging on the West side of the handrail surrounding the wheelchair 'layby'. I then started spotting more; another one on the handrail, 3 on the West edge of the board walk and 2 in the grass below the board walk - all in the lee of the wind! Not daft these dragonflies! Unfortunately the 2 on the handrail were more exposed to gusts and both were dislodged while their wings were still soft and both suffered irreparable damage to their wings [both were female too which was a bit of a blow!]. The remaining 5 were all in more sheltered spots and were able to achieve maiden flights; these were 4 males and 1 female. The final individual's first flight [the female] was at 2.45pm - 3hrs 45mins after I first saw her crawl up the side wall of the board walk as a larva! So 5 out of 7 were able to achieve maiden flights despite the sunny but adverse conditions - almost entirely due to the man-made structure there! There was a supporting cast of emerging Common Blue and Red-eyed Damselflies and one or two semi-mature Blue-tailed damsels. After nearly 6 hours watching these life or death struggles I left feeling emotionally drained - but with a memory card full of shots, some of which I hope will show the full sequence of the day [once I've reviewed and processed them I'll upload a few here]. For now, here's the sad picture of one of the damaged females: