Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Scarce Chaser

Tuesday was a bit of a mixed day. Good in that for the first time this year we saw Dragonfly and Damselfly in decent numbers. Bad in that we did not find our target, the Club-tailed Dragonfly.

We spent most of the morning on a detailed search of just over a mile of the Arun river bank from New Bridge near Billingshurst up as far as the old mill. It was interesting, we found Hairy Dragonflies, various Damselflies, exuvia hanging from vegetation, and a variety of insects that I am still trying to identify. What we didn't find was any sign of the Clubtails. I have a bad feeling about this. Last year I spent at least five days searching various stretches of the river without even a sniff of a clubtail. Do they still survive on the Arun?

What did we find? A freshly emerged Scarce Chaser in lovely condition and fortunately for us reluctant to fly.

Large Red Damselflies - my first of the year.

Azure Damselflies

Male and Female Banded Demoiselle

Common Blue Butterfly - another first for the year

And finally a Mayfly, or what I have always known as a Mayfly, freshly emerged and hanging out to dry.

Reading up on them I see that Mayfly is the common name for the group of insects  Ephemera vulgata with fifty one species known in the UK. Facinating to read that these were one of the first winged insects. Fossils have been found dating back over 300 million years, well before the dinosaurs. Hmmm... - a little bit more research and this could be the start of another list!

But back to the Clubtail. I cannot face another year of dipping this Dragonfly so the next good day and it will be a trip up to Goring-on-Thames and a search around the railway bridge. Look out for the next Blog.

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