Friday, 29 July 2011

Friday 29th.July 2011

Yesterday's quick afternoon visit to the Farm lake was Odonata from start to finish . The most noticeable , was a male Emperor Dragonfy , patrolling the edge of a reedbed , and the reason for his attention was found on the inside of the reedbed , a female , ovipositing on floating vegetation . Not that many damselflies about though , just a few Blue-tailed , the odd Azure , and several Common , many of which were in tandem with their partners . Even though the Black-tailed Skimmers were in small numbers this visit , there were still a couple of females around , no longer in their gold and black colouration , now somewhat on the drab side . Still not that many Common Darters about , but every now and again , a male was found , surveying his territory . In almost the last area that I looked in , I found my first Small Red-eyed Damselflies of the year , a pair in 'the ring' . This species , first found in 1999 in Essex , has now spread right up the country , and is obviously going from strength to strength , and will bring Damselfly emergence to an end for this year . Looking out into the lake at this point , I found a pair ovipositing in tandem , then another and so on , until at at a conservative count , 25+ pairs were seen in the immediate area . In this shot , 5 pairs were ovipositing in tandem . Only other interest on the lake was that the Moorhens have a youngster now .
Having taken Carol to do the monthly shop whilst it was cloudy this morning , and with a bit of brightness showing on our return home , and suspecting an afternoon of cloud , I remembered Spock's comment on last night's post re. the aberrant Gatekeeper at Hutchinson's Bank , just over the border in Surrey , so took the opportunity to see if I could find the specimen , also the second brood Small Blues on site . I had about one and a half hours on site before the weather closed in again , but made the most of my time , covering much of the reserve . But , one pair of eyes , looking for one butterfly in such a large area , I knew I was probably on a hiding to nothing , and that was how it worked out , for both species . I did however manage to record 14 species , with the Marbled White seen , probably the last I'll se this year , as they seem to have gone over on other sites locally . The site has always been good for Small Heath , and today was no different . Walking through the chalk grassland , I saw many small butterflies , but when they came to rest , they all proved to be Brown Argus , like this freshly emerged female . Good numbers of Brimstone , both male and female , not surprising given the amount of Buckthorn on site . And some very fresh Small Coppers , but as I said , no sign of Small Blue . By the time I was leaving , the milky sunshine was now totally blotted out , and so it remained throughout the most of the afternoon . Thanks again to Spock for the 'heads up' on the Gatekeeper , perhaps next time .


Warren Baker said...

That Small heath looks real cool with the yellow ''Halo'' Greenie.

Will I ever get a Brimstone photo ?

Phil said...

Nice in flight Emperor Greenie. And a very arty Small Heath!

Spock said...

The Gatekeeper was seen for 2 days, i had no trouble finding it on the bottom Bridleway. I lost it when it flew up into the scrub. Will keep you informed if its seen again. It looks like no other British butterfly in flight. With 4 seen over 18 years, when not really looking for them, there is a chance of one of these every few years. The gatekeepers are only just hatching, as are the Small Blues, only 1 second brood so far. Clouded Yellows were reported egglaying in June, so there may be a few of these in August.

Rob said...

A fine display of odonata Greenie, and I especially like the shot of those in tandem on the twig reflected in the water.
I haven't seen a red eyed damselfly yet.

Anonymous said...

Bit slack on the Odanata-front up here, Greenie. Not seen either Banded Dem, Common Darter, Brown or Southern Hawker this year, yet.