Wednesday, 6 February 2013
First of all - apologies [yet again ;o/] for a lack of posts after May last year and for failing to add images to the blog some of you so kindly sent me. Juggling getting out during the all too infrequent fine spells with processing data for the Atlas Project are partially to blame..I'll endeavour to do better this year! Again, despite the weather, we collectively saw 28 species in the county! As follows: Beautiful Demoiselle, Banded Demoiselle, Emerald Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Small Red Damselfly, White-legged Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly, Red-eyed Damselfly, Hairy Dragonfly, Common Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly, Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Downy Emerald, Four-spotted Chaser, Broad-bodied Chaser, Scarce Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Keeled Skimmer, Black Darter, Common Darter, Ruddy Darter and Red-veined Darter A pretty good tally I think you'll agree. Despite this year being the second wettest on record I am pleased to be able to report some successes! During the all too brief days of bright, calm, sunny weather I, and other Wiltshire observers, managed to visit all the remaining hectads in the county that had had no or few records between 2000 and 2011. The end result is that all bar one of our 10k squares now have had some species recorded in them. That remaining one is only a partial Wiltshire square and is mostly chalk downland with the only water being the upper reaches of a winterbourne that is usually dry during the spring and summer. So, unless a garden pond in one of the scattered villages turns up trumps, it will remain a blank. But I think this is a great result for a county that is often perceived as being predominantly ‘dry’ chalk grassland! Also completed was all the fieldwork for the Cotswold Dragonfly Atlas Project. Gareth Harris now has the mammoth task of collating all this information and producing the eagerly awaited publication! Of course, we can’t rest on our laurels, as although the national atlas fieldwork is now complete, surveying needs to continue towards a proposed Wiltshire Atlas. For this the recording needs to be at a finer resolution – at least to tetrad level.....no rest for the wicked!! Moving on to the species themselves; Again, despite the general weather conditions, several species had a very good year. Perhaps it was a case of poor weather for the recorder but not for the recorded? Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea) had an exceptional season within the Cotswold Water Park [CWP], with large numbers of emergences and exuviae noted at existing and new locations. I found an exuvia on the early date of 30th April at Lower Moor Farm. This was followed up by observations of emergence in early May; Terry Dabner, Rosie Ray, Chris Beard and I were fortunate enough to see and photograph these amazing transformations that make our beloved dragonflies so unique! (Images l to r: S. Covey; T. Dabner; C. Beard).