Friday 20 July 2018

Southern Emeralds Still Active.

The hot and dry weather continues and it now must be almost two months since there has been any meaningful rainfall on the Isle of Wight and much of Southern England.However our colony of Southern Emerald Damselflies in Bouldnor Forest find it 'just like home' and the count today was eight males and one female at the two breeding scrapes.Both scrapes have now completely dried up.The males were seen on the vegetation in the scrapes and the lone female in the surrounding scrub

Welcome Visitor to the Garden Pond.

The usual species are seen at my garden pond at this time although today it was good to see a male Southern Hawker spending some time quartering the pond and its surrounds.He was of course on the lookout for a meal and it was not long before he took his latest catch to a close by bamboo plant to devour it.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Blue-tailed Beauty.

The Blue-tailed Damselfly is common and widespread in many lowland areas of the UK The male is particularly conspicuous with its black and blue colours.However the female occurs in five colour forms.One of those forms is infusicans and this was seen recently at a garden pond.The male is never seen with the female when she oviposits unlike some other damselflies.

Monday 16 July 2018

Small Red-eyes Now In Full Swing.

Activity at the garden pond in the village of Shalflleet is increasing with several mating pairs in addition to a number of ovipositing pairs in tandem. I would guess that numbers have not yet peaked as this is a thriving colony.The pond is now well covered in lily pads since the plants were thinned a couple of seasons ago.It seems that this species is happy with an almost choked pond covering. 

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.