Friday, 15 July 2016

Black-tailed Skimmer

Apart from Thursday's trip to Ham Wall the past week has mostly seen me venturing out between showers to visit local butterfly and dragonfly sites. Returns have been poor, with numbers of both appearing to be down this year, and with clouds and cooler weather resulting in occasions when nothing much has been flying.

In previous years one of the ponds in Angmering has been good for Black-tailed Skimmers and Red-eyed Damselflies. My first visit coincided with a sudden cloud burst so I found nothing  but on the second visit a few Black-tailed were flying.

They usually favour putting down on the mud so, as below, it is not easy to get a good picture.

However, as the temperature goes above twenty five degrees they start to settle on low vegetation. I don't think we actually reached that on my second visit but I did find an obliging specimen and the pictures are in a different class.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any Red-eyed Damselflies despite seeing large numbers there in previous years. The pond now has a few very large fish although I doubt that these could have wiped out the colony completely.

Other Dragonflies seen. The one below is a bit confusing. It has yellow stripes down the legs so it is a Common Darter but I think it must be a freshly emerged male. The wings look pristine and the pterostigma are still white rather than the dark brown of a mature specimen. Picture taken at the Angmering Pond.

The next one is a Ruddy Darter (no yellow lines down the legs) and a much deeper colour than the specimen in one of last weeks blogs. This one taken at Woods Mills.

Early Commas have over wintered and usually look a bit tatty so these will be first brood having emerged early July. The closed wing shot showing the white comma that gives them their name.

Plenty of Skippers around. This one looks like an Essex.

The next a female Large

Male Large - note the large sex brands on the wings

Meadow Browns everywhere. This one a female

my first Gatekeeper of the year

Silver-washed Fritillaries in Madgeland Wood although no sign of the Purple Emperors. 

I also spent an hour or so watching Purple Hairstreaks in the top of a large oak tree at Tillets Lane Fields. No chance of a picture and this still remains on the top of my target list.

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