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.

Thursday 28 June 2018

Beautiful Demoiselles Steal The Show.

A  trip on the car ferry and a short drive  to the Hampshire town of Whiteley yesterday was ostensibly in search of butterflies.However dragonflies took main attention as the area visited is criss-crossed with wooded streams and brooks. Here there are Beautiful Demoiselles at any sunny spot and also the occasional Golden-ringed Dragonfly patrolling the waterway.
The short sequence of photos below show a female demoiselle ovipositing into a reed stem at one such wooded stream,choosing a small sunny glade.After laying into the stem she went to a branch very close by either to continue egg laying or perhaps to clean herself.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

On The Rise.

We are enjoying a prolonged spell of hot and dry weather now and dragonfly activity has increased.This morning a trip to a garden pond in the nearby village of Shalfleet resulted in no sign of the first Small Red-eyed Damselflies.
However there were other odonata to be seen including this male darter in what for me is a rare sight in the UK.The obelisk postion taken by dragonflies can be a way of keeping cool in hot conditions.The abdomen is raised so as to modify the surface area that is directly exposed to the heat of the sun and both males and females can regulate their body temperartures in this way.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Something Common.

During my recent trips to Bouldnor Forest to see our Southern Emerald Damselfly colony there was it seems, a constant stream of Common Darters emerging from the breeding pools.However it was not until today that the first Common Darter appeared at my garden pond.As the season progresses many more will be dotted around my garden until late into the year.

Thursday 21 June 2018

Drought-like Conditions Suit Our Southern Emeralds.

Todays visit to the Southern Emerald Damselfly site near Yarmouth produced a total of three adult damselflies,two male and one female, on the immediate margins of the smaller of the two breeding pools.Not surprisingly the water level  at both pools is very low with just the centre having any noticeable water.However this seems to be normal as in past seasons both pools began to dry out at this time.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Summer Dragonflies on the Wing.

In Bouldnor Forest today a first Southern Hawker hunting along the forest ride.At the ponds one mature Ruddy Darter and another maturing Ruddy Darter.While observing the Southern Emerald Damselflies a first Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa was spotted.

The Isle of Wight Southern Emeralds.

A visit to Bouldnor Forest this afternoon was rewarded with at least two mature adult Southern Emerald Damselflies on the margins of their breeding ponds.The diagnostic feature of this species is the two tone wing spots.

A Look at Latchmore Brook.

My first ever visit to Latchmore Brook in the New Forest was an unexpected opportunity and unfortunately rather brief.Still an hour or so exploring the boggy feeder streams that flow from the north into the brook discovered several of the rare Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly and also the equally uncommon  Southern Damselfly.Other species seen at the brook and along the runnels were Beautiful Demoiselle,Keeled Skimmer,Large Red Damselfly,and Emperor Dragonflies.    


Saturday 9 June 2018

Beautiful Demoiselles Active at Shalfleet Stream.

Since the first sighting of an immature male Beautiful Demoiselle on the 6th May it is not surprising that  now the season is well under way at Shalfleet Stream.Today under cloudy but bright conditions I  recorded over forty demoiselles along this wooded stream.When the sun appeared activity certainly increased with mature males performing their aerobatics for the females at any sunny spot over the water.Several immature males were evident and hopefully the peak has not yet been reached.

Friday 8 June 2018

More from Bouldnor.

Unlike my last visit to Bouldnor excatly a week ago I enjoyed some  long sunny spells and consquently higher temperatures today. I observed more Southern Emerald Damselflies emerging from their two breeding ponds, albeit just two individuals,one from each pond.Although I looked for any mature L. barbarus I found none.Any damselflies that did emerge today would have had to compete for airspace with a  stream of teneral Common Darters that took off from these ponds.
An interesting sighting at the smaller of the two ponds was a male Four-spotted Chaser.He persistently patrolled the water and landed occasionally on any prominent reed.A species common on the mainland but not seen too often here on the Isle of Wight.Among the other odonata on show was the very attractive female Blue-tailed Damselfly form violacae.

A teneral Common Darter,just one of many again today

Larger of the two breeding ponds

Smaller breeding pond