Monday 4 November 2013

End of Season Dragonflies

On the Isle of Wight at this time there is always the hope of encountering a rarity.However into November and it is the Common Darter that is the dragonfly most likely to be seen in the hedgerows and around the ponds.
Today was no exception as a visit to the ponds of Clamerkin at Newtown produced a count of sixteen darters plus four mating and ovipositing pairs.A sighting too of a male Southern Hawker was a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Autumn Fliers.

Now that we are into autumn here,there are several dragonflies still to be encountered at our ponds and streams on the Isle of Wight.
Perhaps the most common is the Common Darter which is widespread and can be found in most habitats from sea cliffs to woods and all sizes of ponds.Another species is the Migrant Hawker.The males are often seen patrolling the marginal reeds in search of a female.

Thursday 12 September 2013

A Southern Belle.

The Southern Hawker must be one of the most colourful of our true dragonflies in the UK.The male in particular, whereas the female is a beautiful apple-green with brown trimmings and has big blue eyes.
This female was seen today in Walters Copse,Newtown,along a sunny ride where she was hunting.

Friday 30 August 2013

More from my Garden Pond.

A bit of pond-dipping today produced a handsome Emperor Dragonfly larva.Measuring about 4 to 5 centimetres,it is our largest dragonfly nymph.I was very pleased to see it as this season I have not seen any evidence of emerging Emperors at my pond.Last year I found five exuviae,so I hope there are others in the pond.
Somewhat later in the afternoon I was treated to a female Southern Hawker continually circling the pond to lay her eggs on the pondside vegetation.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Time for the Small Red-eyes.

As mentioned in my entry about the Small Red-eyed Damselflies of February this year,the months of July and particularly August are the time to see this very dainty damselfly.
It is a relatively recent addition to the odonata of the Isle of Wight and can be found at several locations now.At  a private garden pond in the village of Shalfleet I was fortunate enough to see several males and ovipositing pairs.The males tend to spend their time on lily pads and the females are most easily seen when in tandem with a male, laying eggs into pond weed.

Monday 19 August 2013

In and Around My Garden Pond.

Although there has not been great activity at my pond this year the odd dragonfly continues to show up.Most numerous at the moment is the Common Darter,and yesterday at least six males were competing for the best spots to attract and catch a female.
Yesterday was also the first occasion this season when I saw a Common Frog at the pond.Unfortunately not a usual sight here as I have discovered no spawn since creating the pond.
Another first was the presence of a handsome Grass Snake which would surface and investigate the nooks and crannies along the bank for prey.Hopefully the palmate newts in the pond took cover.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Hawking in my Back Yard.

The lack of hawkers in and around my  garden pond this year has been notable although I have witnessed a female Southern Hawker attempting to oviposit on a couple of occasions.Also I have seen a male of the same species investigate the pond.
However today I was fortunate enough to observe an immature male Migrant Hawker spend some time in the garden,the first Migrant I  have known to visit my site.Let us hope that things improve over the next month or two.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

High Summer Dragons

At this time the variety of odonata is maybe at its peak,helped at last by the prolonged spell of hot summer weather.
At Walters Copse there are good numbers of adult Southern Hawkers hunting along the woodland rides and also Migrant Hawkers,Beautiful Demoiselles and numerous Darters.The following photos of a male Southern Hawker and a Ruddy Darter were just two of many.

Even back at my garden pond the male Common Darter is on now taking up station awaiting females and to date there have been numerous tenerals seen preparing to take their first flights from the pond.


Friday 26 July 2013

An Early Migrant Hawker

On the a visit to Bleak Down yesterday to see the Grayling  (see I came across at least three Migrant Hawkers hunting along a narrow path leading to the Down.This small hawker will be seen until late autumn.
It is a common dragonfly on the Island and breeds on well vegetated lakes and ponds.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Banded Demoiselles Galore.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Southford stream today in the south of the Isle of Wight.
On yet another scorching hot day a stroll along this stream was a treat.Lots of Banded Demoiselles to see and every few yards a Golden-ringed Dragonfly.The latter does certainly seem to be having a good season as there have been numerous sightings on the Island of this spectacular dragonfly.

Monday 15 July 2013

Summer at Shalfleet Stream.

With the hot sunny weather continuing it was an ideal time to take a stroll along a stretch of stream at Shalfleet.It is home to Beautiful Demoiselles a colourful and elegant damselfly.It was not long before I saw several blue males dancing in display over the stream in a sunny spot.The green females tend to hang back in the stream side bushes and trees,approaching the water to mate.

Friday 12 July 2013

More Summer Visitors?

The high chalk cliffs that make up  much of the coastline around the Needles are landfall for many flying insects during the summer months.Today on West High Down there was a brisk onshore breeze and I was surprised to come upon ,near to the cliff edge,a male Banded Demoiselle as well as a Common Blue Damselfly.Of course they could have just as likely flown there from inland but it seems that this location on chalk downland is not their normal habitat.


Thursday 11 July 2013

More Dragonflies at Walters Copse.

Following the recent sight of two Golden-ringed dragonflies in the copse, today's summer weather brought out other dragonflies to hunt along the woodland rides.
Almost at once I came across an immature Southern Hawker which landed in front of me.This is my first sighting of this species of the season.A bit later a male Emperor was spotted sunning itself on a bramble bush.It was not long before it took off to patrol the ride.
There were also a few darters here and there which all seemed to be Ruddy Darters.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

The Four-spotted Chaser.

Not an uncommon dragonfly on mainland Britain but on the Isle of Wight there is only one known breeding location.So when this male appeared at my garden pond today I was somewhat gobsmacked.

Monday 8 July 2013

Finding a Shady Place to Eat Lunch.

At Walters Copse,Newtown today it was another hot day and the sight of two Golden-ringed dragonflies hunting along a leafy ride was a pleasure to see.Continually quartering and putting on a burst of speed now and again it was not long before a meal was caught.The Meadow Brown butterflies were easy prey and when consumed the wings were discarded.The prey was often taken to a shady spot underneath a leaf as seen in the following photos.

Saturday 6 July 2013

Ruddy Marvellous Weather

With the return of the summer weather for at least a few days the ponds at Clamerkin NT are showing some increased activity.The Ruddy Darter is now on the wing and mating pairs can be seen.
Good numbers of Emerald Damselflies too,with many adult males on the lookout for a mate.

Thursday 27 June 2013

Summer Colour at Clamerkin.

Today continued with the warm sunny weather we have enjoyed over the last few days.Although it seems that dragonfly and damselfly numbers are down this year there are still  some beautiful  and colourful species to see around the pond.Not least Emerald and Blue-tailed Damselflies.