Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Mid May to Mid June update

Things have finally returned to some semblance of normality after being away on holiday [in Florida] until the beginning of June! So now I have been able to play catch up on the state of Wiltshire's Odonata. First of all, I'm delghted that Sherston Primary School, under the guidance of their Head, continue to monitor the pond and wildlife area in the school grounds. Large red and Common Blue damsels have been seen so far along with Broad-bodied Chasers - including an exuvia [great proof of breeding there!] Regarding exuviae; several more observers are now finding and recording exuviae at sites which is great news - also late instar larvae! Peter Sketch, Neil Pullen and Gareth Harris' CWP team are among those now doing so. There is an excellent photographic guide to identifying exuviae/larvae now so if anyone else is interested let me know and I'll provide details. Barry Watts is again keeping an eye on Stourhead ponds/lakes in the far SW of the county and, on 19th May, saw Large Red damsels and a teneral Downy Emerald - nice to know they are still present there.
Mike Hamzij reported the first Banded Demoiselles at Whaddon on the Bristol Avon on 22nd May and also 2 Beautiful Demoiselles [strays from the Holt colony possibly?]; then on 8th June he recorded the first Scarce Chasers of the year there - along with the first White-legged Damselflies and some Blue-tailed damsels. Lorraine Blakey visited Langford Lakes on 26th May recording Common Blue and Blue-tailed there; but also a male and female Broad-bodied Chaser on the new reedbed/scrape area. The first record of odonata I've received from this reserve extension!
Rod Stowell reported the first Red-eyed Damsels on 3rd June from CWP - but I'm sure they have been present since well before then! He observed 2 of them harassing a male BB Chaser 'guarding' an ovipositing female - a dangerous game to be playing!! The regular Hampshire crew have been visiting VC8 New Forest area [Cadnam and Plaitford Commons] Where, in particular, Paul Winter [on 5th June] saw Small Red and Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies plus Keeled Skimmer! On 11th June, Chris Beard walked a 1 mile stretch of the Salisbury Avon from Old Sarum to the 5 Rivers Leasure Centre...but only found 3 male Banded Demoiselles in that stretch - not a good sign!? On14th Damian Pinguey visited the Bristol Avon at Mortimore's Wood and found very few Banded Demoiselles and only one White-Legged Damselfly; a worrying trend? Fortunately, on a visit a few days later, he saw many more freshly emerged Banded's - so hopefully they have just been delayed rather than absent.
To reinforce this I visited the River Cole at Roves Farm [by the scrape] and saw over 20 Banded Demoiselles [breathes a sigh of relief] plus large numbers of Azure Damselflies, 3 mature Large Reds and about 20 Blue-tailed - but no Anisoptera!
With the weather hopefully warming up tomorrow there will be a chance to go out again looking for new species for the year - even if it is a short break from the dreary weather!