Monday 26 October 2020

2020,a Year to Forget & Remember.

 This year coronavirus  has dominated all our lives.The result of the pandemic regarding odonata for me has been to restrict my boundaries solely to the Isle of Wight.Any opportunity to seek the more exotic species abroad were dashed and even trips to mainland Britain were abandoned.

The season began on the 12th April with Large Red Damselflies emerging in the garden and an immature male Broad-bodied Chaser flew in on the 23rd of the month.In the middle of May there were good numbers of Beautiful Demoiselle at Shalfleet Stream.May is also the time that I turn my attention to Bouldnor Forest at Yarmouth for hopefully the first signs of the Southern Emerald Damselflies,Lestes barbrus. It was on the 25th when an immature female was seen and that was followed by sightings of several individuals well into June.However I must say that numbers were very small and after the last record on the 20th of the month no more were seen until a lone mature female on the 20th August.

The highlight of the season occurred at the end of July when,also at Bouldnor,a male Southern Migrant Hawker,Aeshna affinis, was spotted patrolling one of the almost dried up ponds.The following day the 31st July,it was again present and stayed in this location until the 11th August.Five days earlier on the 6th I noted two males vying over this now dry pond.

Immature male Broad-bodied Chaser

Female Beautiful Demoiselle


Immature female Lestes barbarus



Thursday 20 August 2020

Southern Emerald Damselflies Show At Last.

Two months after my last sighting of Lestes barbarus at Yarmouth a single female was seen today. Interestingly enough although on site, she was not particularly close to the two breeding scrapes and disappointingly she gave me the slip soon after discovery.
However it is pleasing to know that they are there and perhaps still in dispersal mode.

Friday 7 August 2020

Small Red-eyes at Stag Lane Pond.

Stag Lane pond is situated near to Newport on the Isle of Wight and close to the Dodnor Creek Nature Reserve bordering the River Medina.The pond is a renowned fishing lake and also a place for many species of odonata.At this time of year Small Red-eyed Damselflies abound and today under cloudy skies but high temperatures of over 30 degrees celcius several males were resting on pondside foliage.

Thursday 6 August 2020

Southern Migrant Hawker Defends Pond Against Rival.

At Bouldnor Forest ponds today the male Southern Migrant Hawker was patrolling his rapidly diminishing pond in spite of the attentions of another male.It would seem that this site has a very suitable habitat for this species as other ponds on the site have dried up too,save two that have a low water level and are guarded by  male Emperor Dragonflies. 
At the Southern Emerald  scrapes only a female Lestes sponsa was recorded and it is hoped that soon Lestes barbarus will return to breed.

Friday 31 July 2020

Southern Migrant Hawker Still at Yarmouth.

A return visit to Bouldnor Forest,Yarmouth today discovered the male Southern Migrant Hawker patrolling the diminishing woodland pond. With the weather starting to cloud over at times, our male hawker began to slow down and hovering was the name of the game as he no doubt investigated me as I stood observing his movements.This was an opportunity to attempt a few flight shots and I was frankly amazed that some photos did this lovely dragonfly justice.

Small Red-eyes at Shalfleet.

The Small Red-eyed Damselflies at a private garden pond in the village of Shalfleet have been late emerging this year.However today several mature males were on the pond  although it seems they were finding any open space  a problem as the ponds' lilies had almost covered the surface.

Thursday 30 July 2020

Southern Migrant Hawker Drops In at Yarmouth.

Very surprised and delighted to observe this male Southern Migrant Hawker patrolling an almost dried up pond at Yarmouth this afternoon.It is the first sighting of this species for me and I wonder if it is a first for the Isle of Wight.
The Southern Migrant Hawker,also known as the Blue-eyed Hawker, has spread in the last few years from the continent to breed in south-east England,especially around the Thames estuary.This particular individual may have crossed the English Channel in the last few days due to the southerly winds.

Friday 17 July 2020

Emerald Damselflies Save the Day.

Today was a lovely warm summer's day with temperatures in the mid-twenties celsius.Too hot it seems for much activity, as the only sightings were two Emerald Damselflies,Lestes sponsa at the Southern Emerald site in Bouldnor Forest.The last record of Lestes barbarus was on the 20th June so it is hoped that any mature adults will return to the scrapes in August for mating.


Saturday 20 June 2020

Southern Belles.

At this time we would expect to see the first Southern Hawkers making an appearance and it was good to see a first of the season at Yarmouth today.This immature female was flying along a woodland ride in search of prey and regularly alighted on a suitable perch to rest and eat.
At the Southern Emerald site I was pleased to find two males and a female at the larger scrape.All were discovered among the reeds of the scrape.With the weather set to warm up considerably over the next week it is hoped that more individuals will be recorded, although this site has never seemed to produce high numbers of Lestes barbarus.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

First Sight of the Emerald Damselfly.

Although the Emerald Damselfly,Lestes sponsa is widespread and fairly common ,it is nonetheless an exquiste and delicate damselfly.This young female was found today along a woodland ride close to the ponds at Bouldnor,Yarmouth from where  no doubt it emerged.

Saturday 13 June 2020

One Southern Emerald and a Flood of Common Darters.

A search of both scrapes at Yarmouth today discovered one male Southern Emerald Damselfly.He was located at the larger scrape among the pond grasses.Other species seen were several Emperor Dragonflies and a bevy of Common Darters emeging from one of the other ponds on the site, together with some immature Ruddy Darters.

Monday 8 June 2020

Back at Bouldnor.

It has been over a week since my last visit to Bouldnor at Yarmouth.This was mainly due to the cool and changeable weather since the end of May.However we are now enjoying a brief spell it seems, of warmer conditions before much needed rain is forecast for the coming weekend.
At the ponds one or two new species of the year were to be seen today.A couple of Common Darter,several Black-tailed Skimmers,and a male Common Blue Damselfly.Unfortunately despite a prolonged search I was unable to locate any Southern Emerald Damselflies and I hope that any recent emergents have dispersed into the scrub.

Saturday 30 May 2020

Southern Emerald's on the Up.

Arriving at Bouldnor Forest ponds this afternoon,I went directly to the Southern Emerald scrapes.As mentioned in my last report they are looking completely arid as a result of virtually no rain for the last two months.
After a brief inspection of the small scrape I made for the larger and immediately noticed a male Southern Emerald just a few feet along the path.Eventually,after some time  investigating the two scrapes, three more individuals were seen among the reeds and grasses that cover the large scrape.Unfortunately they quickly evaded me and disappeared into the greenery.

Monday 25 May 2020

Southern Emerald Damselfly On the Wing at Yarmouth.

Today's visit to Bouldnor ponds at Yarmouth was spent wholly at the two scrapes where our colony of Southern Emerald Damselflies have bred for the last several seasons.Since my last visit  on the 20th May both scrapes have dried up with no visible signs of water.The larger seems to have dried completely although the reeds are still green and I am sure that there is moisture underneath. The second smaller scrape looks to be slightly deeper with plenty of dead and decaying matter so there must also be water below.
Immediately on arrival I disturbed a male Emperor Dragonfly and a male Four-spotted Chaser.The former only flew a short distance before finally flying away.Seeing no other species at the first small scrape I moved on the a second larger one,just a short distance away.Very pleased to see a single teneral Ruddy Darter among the reeds here.A first of the season.The only other species seen was a Blue-tailed Damselfly rufescens.
After an hour or more viewing the two scrapes I was finally rewarded with the sight of an immature female Southern Emerald fluttering away from the larger scrape into the surrounding gorse.