Thursday, 12 July 2018

A Delicate Damselfly.

Like the Southern Damselfly the New Forest is renowned as a stronghold for the Small Red Damselfly Ceriagrion tenellum. Perhaps the best location to see this delicate damselfly is Crockford Stream on Beaulieu Heath.A visit to the stream on Tuesday discovered good numbers of this very restricted species.It is classed as Nationally Scarce and the habitat required for the Small Red is usually limited to shallow warm acidic waters on heathland bogs where there are pools and small streams.


Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Crockford Stream Does Not Disappoint.

Crockford Stream trickles its way across Beaulieu Heath in the New Forest.As soon as you leave the small road  bridge that spans the stream activity is frantic with a myriad of  dragonflies every few feet along the watercourse.It really is a mecca for heathland odonata. 
Perhaps the most numerous species here is the Keeled Skimmer,closely followed by Beautiful Demoiselles and at regular intervals male Golden-ringed Dragonflies.They patrol the stream on the lookout for females and any other males that they may want to send on their way. 
One must not forget of course the two species of specialised damselflies that are also present along the stream,the Small Red Damselfly and the Southern Damselfly.


A Heathland Damselfly.

Yesterdays trip to the New Forest was to Crockford Stream,one of several watercourses that cross Beaulieu Heath.The stream has a good mix of odonata and is renowned for the Southern Damselfly and the Small Red Damselfly.Both species were evident in addition to other more common dragonflies.
The Southern Damselfly Coenagiron mercuriale is classed as Near Threatened in the UK due to its specialised habitat requirements.It is confined to shallow,well vegetated base-rich flushes and runnels usually found on wet heathland.The New Forest in Hampshire is one of this species strongholds.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

The Southern Emerald Season Continues.

Although the two breeding scrapes have almost dried up in our prolonged dry spell this species is no doubt well adapted to these conditions.On Friday last, the smaller scrape produced two mature males both found in the reeds growing out of the partched and cracked pool.
It is interesting to note that this colony seems to be earlier than those meagre few found on the mainland as the first individuals appear in the last week of May and continue through into July.I am advised that those on the mainland are not first  recorded until well into June.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

More Emerald Damselflies To See.

Yesterdays visit to Bouldnor Forest ponds discovered the effects of our rather prolonged dry spell.Temperatures have reached 30C almost every day for the last couple of weeks and the levels in the scrape ponds are receding fast.Not surprisingly at the two Southern Emerald breeding scrapes water has seemingly disappeared and now Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa numbers are starting to increase with up to six adult males,three copulating pairs,and several females seen. 

Friday, 6 July 2018

Business As Usual for the Small Red-eyes.

There were at least five adult male Small Red-eyed Damselflies on the lily pads at a Shalfleet garden pond this morning.Hopefully it will be another good season for this species with activity increasing as the season progresses.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Small Red-eyes Appearing.

The first report of Small Red-eyed Damselflies on the Isle of Wight was on the 26th June.This was six days later than 2017  when two individuals were recorded in the village of Shalflleet.Therefore I was hopeful if not expectant that I would see adult males at a garden pond in the village.
My optimism it seemed was misplaced as despite some searching there was no sign of any Small Red-eyes.However a persistant scan of the numerous lilypads on the pond discovered a teneral damselfly preparing to take its first flight .More searching revealed a second emergent struggling to escape from its laval case as seen in the sequence of photos below.

Small Red-eye almost ready for its first flight.

Starting to emerge from its larval case.

Out but still with folded wings.

Wings almost developed.

Abdomen nearly straight.
Not too long to take off.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

The Colour of an Emerald Too..

Another Emerald Damselfly common here on the Isle of Wight is Lestes sponsa.Its required habitat is similar to that of Lestes barbarus but L. sponsa is well established in the UK and widespread.The males develop a powder blue pruinescence over some of the thorax and parts of the abdomen.The eyes are blue.The females on the other hand lack any blue and are slightly heavier in appearance.Their eyes are brown.
Several individuals were seen today at Yarmouth and although numbers will increase as the summer proceeds it is not likely that the numbers of Lestes sponsa will be large.   

The Colour of an Emerald.

The classic colour of an emerald gemstone is green but they can range from yellow-green to blue-green.The same can be said of our Emerald Damselflies.More so since the recent addition of the Southern Emerald Damselfly Lestes barbarus to the Isle of Wight.Now that mature adults are seen around their breeding pools at Yarmouth it is noticeable that the eyes and antehumeral stripes on the thorax have turned an 'apple' green, while still retaining their main overall colour of metallic green.In addition the abdomen  shows a hint of bronze along the upper side.
Today with a temperature of over 30C it was a hot afternoon at Bouldnor ponds.I was joined in a count of Lestes barbarus by two other enthusiasts who had made the trip over from the mainland.Together we managed to find four adult Southern Emeralds in close proximity to the breeding pools.