Saturday, 25 October 2014

This Year's Top Highlight.

The 2014 season has seen a succession of  highlights with visits to the only remaining colony of Keeled Skimmers,Orthetrum coerulescens, on the Isle of Wight,to my first ever look at the Small Skimmer,Orthetrum taenioaltum,on the island of Rhodes.
Ferocious winter gales and heavy rain caused massive erosion of the coastal cliffs where the Keeled Skimmer is found here, in acidic pools on the cliff landslips.Hopefully as new pools are created their numbers will increase.
Another fantastic discovery was the sight of numerous male Red-veined Darters on territory at a local reservoir. These colourful darters are reported from time to time in singles but double figure numbers are quite unusual and exciting particularly on the Isle of Wight.
However the real highlight of this past season for me are the encounters with the Scarce Chaser. The odd individual has been noted since 2008 on the Island but this year several were seen at suitable breeding locations.Both these sites are in the south east of the Island,one in water meadows on a small, muddy slow  flowing river. and also at  mature fishing lakes surrounded by dense emergent marginal vegetation.
Males on territory and females were present at both sites.
The Scarce Chaser,Libellula fulva,is a 'Red Data' species and along with several other species they are considered as 'near threatened'.Therefore they and their habitats are protected by law in the UK.