Monday, 21 July 2014

JULY UPDATE

...although first some late additions for June!
Damian Pinguey saw the first White-legged Damselfly (Platicnemis pennipes)of the year on the R. Avon at Mortimores Wood, just South of Chippenham on the 9th June.
This was followed on 29th June by the first Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea), discovered by Alison Maddock at Bratton.
In between these was an interesting sighting of a very mature female Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) by Vernon Moger on 14th June ovipositing in his garden pond in Royal Wootton Bassett. This female had taken on the blue colouration of the male on several of her abdominal segments!
This could be a combination of over maturity and prolonged hot weather - I'd be interested to hear what others think!
On 29th June, Barry Watts found the first Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) of the year at Black Dog Wood near Chapmanslade just within the Western edge of the county boundary.
A different individual [or possibly the same!?] was seen on 6th July by Brian Seaman in the part of the wood on the other side of the road.
On 11th July I visited Red Lodge Wood to look for White-letter Hairstreak, but was pleasantly surprised to find the large pond near the entrance had been dredged and all the Marestail that had totally clogged the pond had been removed. As well as 2 male and 2 ovipositing female Emperors (Anax imperator), patrolling Southern and Brown Hawkers (Aeshna grandis), an old 4-spot Chaser and male Black-tailed Skimmer, there were many Emerald Damselflies (Lestes sponsa); which are quite thin on the ground, generally, in Wilts.

Finally, yesterday 20th July, I ran an insect ID workshop at the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's reserve of Conigre Mead on the Western edge of Melksham, by the River Bristol Avon. As well as the usual suspects [Emperor, Southern and Brown Hawkers, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle; Blue-tailed,  Azure, Common Blue and White-legged Damselflies] I was very pleased to see a mature male Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva) holding territory on the river bank. You could tell he had successfully mated due to the tell-tale scuff marks on his abdomen!

We later briefly saw the same or a different individual patrolling along the meadow ride adjacent to the river.
There are still a few species to be recorded yet this year so hopefully there will be some more news at the end of the month or in August.
As always, many thanks to the recorders mentioned for the use of their fine images to help illustrate this blog update.

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