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2019 Dragonfly Season (1 Viewer)

Farnboro John

Well-known member
A gripping account with some great photos. Especially interesting to me as I have attempted the same thing this year on a more casual basis. (I'm on 33 species)
If you don't mind me asking John, is there anywhere near you that is good for Golden-ringed Dragonfly? I've tried Thursley twice with no luck and won't get the chance to visit the New Forest this summer, but I have family near Farnham and can usually sneak out for an hour or so when I'm down there.
Tim

I've also failed at Thursley this year - which would have been my local suggestion... and although the New Forest is an hour away it is SOOOO easy along Latchmore Brook, literally can't miss if the weather is right. Hopefully somebody will come up with another suggestion, but you really can't sneak out for a morning from Farnham just one sunny day?

Cheers

John
 
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Timbirder3

Well-known member
Thanks for the reply John. Wish I could but Sandy to New Forest is a bit of a trek and I've bunked off quite a few days already this year. I think the New Forest will have to wait till next year: I still need Southern Damsel and Scarce Blue-tailed, so would want to make a full day of it.
Cheers
Tim
 

Timbirder3

Well-known member
Hi John,
Just realised I misread your post. Supposed to be babysitting when I'm at Farnham. Can leave my wife with grandkids for a short while but can't push my luck too far. And no, they are NOT coming with me. Tried it once, never again!
Tim
 

pdwinter

Paul Winter
I would have thought Warren Heath would have been a safe bet for Golden-ringed. Always seen them when I've been up for Brilliant Emerald (although they were mid July visits).
 

Dave Ball

Well-known member
Hi Paul, Thanks for the suggestion. Looks near enough to be doable, but it's a vast area. Any tips on best areas?
Cheers
Tim
...and more importantly, where are the Brilliant Ems? I’m near Tim, in Bedford, and it would be good to have a nearer site than Thursley (though preferably one that avoids the M25). It’s a species I’ve only seen once and still need to photograph, and I’ve never done well at Thursley after the first time, though admittedly more recently it’s tended to be calling in on the way back from something else.

Nice to see you at Beds’s only Beautiful Dem site the other day, Tim. New Odonata seem to be popping up all over in our county, Martin Green was suggesting Southern Emerald damsels are getting into Herts now, but I haven’t checked how near to our county line.
 

pdwinter

Paul Winter
Warren Heath

The info should be in the attached link Warren Heath

I found room to park near the industrial estate on the B3016 and crossed the road and then went across a shallow ditch on the north (Warren Heath) side of the road. I found Golden-ringed along the stream that runs from the gravel track down to the middle pond and also where the stream runs down through the mire/boggy area from the top pond. There were at least 5 patrolling males when I visited on 16.07.14

I haven't visited since 16.07.14 so I don't know if you can still park along the B3016 or if you can still access Warren Heath from there.

Species list 17.07.13
Banded & Beautiful Demoiselle,
Emerald, Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Azure, Red-eyed, Large Red and Small Red Damselfly
Brown and Southern Hawker
Emperor, Hairy and Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Downy & Brilliant Emerald
Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chaser
Black-tailed and Keeled Skimmer
Black and Common Darter

Species list 16.07.14
Banded & Beautiful Demoiselle,
Emerald, Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Azure, Red-eyed, Large Red and Small Red Damselfly
Migrant, Brown and Southern Hawker
Emperor and Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Downy & Brilliant Emerald
Four-spotted Chaser
Black-tailed and Keeled Skimmer
Black, Ruddy and Common Darter

There is some more information on Paul Ritchie's Site
 

Timbirder3

Well-known member
Thanks Paul, Very helpful. Hoping to try over the bank holiday if the weather is ok. Just back from photographing Willow Emerald in Beds. (A county tick for me)
Tim
 

aeshna5

Well-known member
Been struggling to find decent weather over recent weekends for butterfly/dragonfly watching. Today, though less than ideal, thought worth going to Canvey,

Still blustery on the top of the bank but down by the ditch more sheltered. At the entrance end was totally dry and much trodden + browsed by the cattle. In the end we saw almost 30 male Southern Migrant Hawkers + one female in cop. Several of the males were perched giving great views. All looked in peak condition.

Otherwise large numbers of Ruddy Darter, a single male Common Darter, a female Southern Hawker that perched low on a hawthorn, small number of Scarce Emeralds + surprisingly a male Small Red-eyed Damselfly perched on a bramble. Presumably a wanderer or migrant as not suitable habitat here for it.

I was hoping we might see a Southern Emerald Damselfly, but like last year, no sign.

Quite a few butterflies including several Brown Argus + a Grass Snake in a wet part of the ditch.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I had a go at a Southern Emerald Damselfly site earlier in the season and struck out, probably because there was a gale blowing and cloud cover though intermittent was more cloud than blue.

Today I had another go since there have been a couple on show at Winterton for several days so the season for them clearly is not over, and scored 2+ males and at least 4 females.

Because there was trouble there last year I'm not going to say where I was but I can't stop you guessing. If anyone goes for goodness sake:

- park sensibly

- stay on the path (all the damselflies were near the far end and in the long grass, no need to trespass or crash about in habitat).

Enjoy.

38: Southern Emerald Damselfly X 5 (female X 3, male X 2)
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
There have been reports through the summer but always well in retrospect.

Now, here I am on 38 for the year, only Common Hawker still to do down here. I'd like to finish on 40 if I can: what are the odds on any of the Scottish beasties still being out?

Cheers

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
A long day out yesterday - what we call "a total naturalist day" - birds, mammals, butterflies, moths and dragonflies all featuring and with species in several groups deliberately targeted.

For me the key species for the outing was Common Hawker, which I'm more than half inclined to start calling Moorland Hawker given that it certainly isn't common everywhere and in fact seems to have declined substantially in Southern Britain. The underlying question in my mind is how accurate the alternative title might be - I can't answer that myself...

Anyway, after a morning at Portland we cut up through Dorset to Somerset's Priddy Mineries and after initially trying to reach the wrong pool and falling about all over the place in horrible tussocky landscape we consulted Google. Consequently we were quickly parked by the correct pool and staking out the boggy far corner.

Eventually we had eyes on first a patrolling male and then several ovipositing females. They didn't keep still very long anywhere - with one exception - and photography was difficult. Of course we enjoy a challenge, but I think this one remains a work in progress. The pond was dominated by quite a lot of male Emperors (which didn't help) and later on Migrant Hawkers also appeared.

Anyway, 39: Moorland (Common) Hawker. As I've given up on Scotland I'm now hoping for a gettable vagrant species not too far away. 39 seen and photographed is some kind of achievement I guess.

After this session we dropped down to Ham Wall where we were really after Iberian Water Frogs (which didn't play at all) but had breeding Small Red-eyed Damselflies and a very showy perched up male Migrant Hawker.

John

Photos:

Emerald Damselfly male
Moorland (Common) Hawker male
Small Red-eyed Damselflies
Migrant Hawker male
Migrant Hawker female
 

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aeshna5

Well-known member
Nice photos John. It's years since I've seen Common Hawker as they are virtually non-existent here in the south-east but your first photo of a female has a clear blackish costa. Shouldn't it be yellow in this species?
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Nice photos John. It's years since I've seen Common Hawker as they are virtually non-existent here in the south-east but your first photo of a female has a clear blackish costa. Shouldn't it be yellow in this species?

Aha, you are right - it does appear to be a Migrant Hawker also! Luckily the not-so-good picture is clearly a Common Hawker. Well spotted, and thank you. I should have paid more attention to my own words "with one exception..." not an unusually confiding Moorland but a normally confiding Migrant.

Cheers

John
 
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Farnboro John

Well-known member
What's the deal with these Vagrant Emperors at Carlton Marshes? Are they available? I seem to remember a message about "area with no general access" a week or two ago.

I do want that no. 40.....

Cheers

John
 

Dave Ball

Well-known member
What's the deal with these Vagrant Emperors at Carlton Marshes? Are they available? I seem to remember a message about "area with no general access" a week or two ago.

I do want that no. 40.....

Cheers

John
I’ve been about to ask the same question on here several times - I was hoping someone would volunteer the info.

When the first ‘no general access’ message came out I did find a map of the reserve on line which showed the path through Share Marsh as ‘closed due to habitat creation work’, and that’s where some messages have placed them.

On a related note, this message was on the Atropos site recently:

‘Adrian Parr Saturday, 24 August 2019 08:41
An emergent second-generation Vagrant Emperor was spotted in the Netherlands on 23 August, the first time the species has bred successfully in NW Europe. After this year's massive influx, I expect Britain to soon follow suite.’

...though I believe that (using a butterfly term) they are more-or-less continuously brooded (or perhaps more correctly have only a short period as aquatic nymphs), so are unlikely to successfully overwinter in the UK?
 

pdwinter

Paul Winter
...though I believe that (using a butterfly term) they are more-or-less continuously brooded (or perhaps more correctly have only a short period as aquatic nymphs), so are unlikely to successfully overwinter in the UK?

I think that up to to this year Vagrant Emperors have only been observed ovipositing in the UK in autumn - and the water would then not be warm enough for the larvae to develop and produce another generation.

This year they have been seen ovipositing in July so there is a chance that they can produce another generation.

There have been bugger all in Hampshire!

Paul
 

Britseye

Well-known member
A long day out yesterday - what we call "a total naturalist day" - birds, mammals, butterflies, moths and dragonflies all featuring and with species in several groups deliberately targeted.

Don't need to tell you how much I enjoyed your account, as usual, John. At the same time, in a very similar vein I was enjoying my own 'total naturalist day out' in the south-west. Started at Stover Country Park near Newton Abbott in an unsuccessful attempt for Brown Hairstreak but did see my first British Nightjar in five years; my first Hobbies of this year (yes, I know...we don't get many down here) and my first ever Small Red-eyed Damselflies out in the middle of the lake.

While watching the distant SReD wishing they would come closer for a photograph, I was tipped off that 2-3 of the species had been seen right in the heart of Plymouth city centre during the week. I still had a National Trust 'open moth night' to attend just north of the city (seeing my first Dipper in half-a-dozen years on the way up) but duly went there next day to check them out. There, just two minutes walk from the central bus station, on a concrete reservoir surrounded by bricks and mortar, I spent four hours on a blazing Bank Holiday Sunday seeing no less than seven species of Odonta. Might have been eight if the what was almost certainly a Lesser Emperor hadn't got away from me. I only left because a text came through saying 'get to a telly, quick' Ben Stokes is bashing the Aussies to all parts. (Just found a pub in time to see the winning ten runs B :) )

Alas, just as at Stover the day before, the Small Red-eyed Damsels were too far off for my little pocket camera. I saw about ten of them, including a couple of mating wheels, and as far as I can tell they represent the most south-westerly extreme of the species spread across the UK.

Now to try and find some in Cornwall.

EDIT: Ah, I've just gone to my Inbox to PM Gastronaut and I see from earlier correspondence he actually found SReD on the Lizard last year. Think I'll go back to bed instead.
 
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