I was delighted to see my first dragonflies of the year at Lavernock Nature Reserve during this morning’s walk: two female (with the golden abdomen) and two male (blue abdomen) Broad-bodied chasers.
#30DaysWild, 30 Days Wild, Blue-tailed damselfly, Broad-bodied Chaser, Common blue butterfly, Emperor dragonfly, Large Red damselfly, Large skipper, Lavernock Nature Reserve, Six-spot burnet, Small copper, Speckled wood
Day 12 of my #30DaysWild was spent wandering around the nature reserve at Lavernock. Though it’s not yet the riot of colour it will be in another month or so, many wildflowers are already blooming, including the Common spotted and Pyramidal orchids, and plenty of critters were feasting on nectar and pollen.
Today’s highlights included my first Six-spot burnet moth of the year, which was dazzling in the bright sunlight, and my second Small copper butterfly, a rather tatty looking specimen but still lovely to see. The Large skippers, Common blues and Speckled woods were abundant, and I also saw whites, a Brimstone and several Meadow brown butterflies.
The pond was alive with dragon- and damselfly action, with both a female Emperor and a female Broad-bodied chaser ovipositing. There were three male Broad-bodied chasers constantly squabbling over territory and a Four-spotted chaser trying to avoid them all. Damselflies included Large reds, Common blues, Azures and Blue-tailed. ’Twas a very lively place today!
birding, birdwatching, British birds, Broad-bodied Chaser, Cockchafer, Common heath moth, Glamorgan Bird Club, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Small heath butterfly, St David's Vale, Stonechat, Tree pipit, Whinchat, Willow warbler
I might also have called this blog post ‘One hundred and eighty!’. Let me explain …
Last Wednesday I joined fourteen other members of the Glamorgan Bird Club for a day’s birding in the stunning scenery of St David’s Vale, near Abergavenny. We walked part of an ancient hollow way …
Beneath mighty oaks in an equally ancient woodland carpeted with bluebells …
And then, as the sun broke through the low cloud that had earlier floated across the border from England, we climbed up on to the broad open moorland, with panoramic views all around and the impressive peak of Sugarloaf looming to our right.
Most of the birds mocked my photographic skills and no-so-long lens as they perched on distant tree tops and bushes but I was delighted to hear and then see my very first Wood warbler, and then, on the moorland, several beautiful Whinchats. And those two sightings brought my year list to – yes, you guessed it – one hundred and eighty!
Our keen amateur naturalists also spotted a Small heath butterfly and two Common heath moths (this is the male; the female landed on my trouser leg so another birder got that picture), and a Broad-bodied chaser dragonfly. And we were entertained by the bumbling flights of several Cockchafers (I’ll cover those in a future post.)
My bird list for the today was: Mistlethrush, Robin, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Great tit, Carrion crow, Meadow pipit, Willow warbler, Swallow, Woodpigeon, Blue tit, Blackcap, Skylark, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Garden warbler, Long-tailed tit, Wood warbler, Stonechat, Raven, Tree pipit, Linnet, Whinchat, Wren, Cuckoo, House sparrow, Pied wagtail, Dunnock, Magpie and Jackdaw. It was a perfectly wonderful day!
There were some cracking dragonflies scooting around the pond at Lavernock Nature Reserve yesterday.
Both the male and the female Common darters posed very obligingly for me.
The male Emperor kept busy patrolling the pond and indulging in occasional rapid trysts with a female. Judging by his tattered wings, he’s notched up quite a few trysts in recent days / weeks. He only stopped once, and then very briefly, so this photo doesn’t really do him justice.
The female Emperor was then kept busy laying eggs at various spots all around the pond edges. A woman’s work is never done!
The star of the show was this gorgeous male Broad-bodied chaser. Apparently, this is very late in the season for them, and he was looking pristine, so perhaps he had only recently hatched. Whatever his story, he was a stunning sight.
These stunning female Broad-bodied chasers (Libellula depressa) were at the pond at Lavernock Nature Reserve today. Watching them fly, perch, and lay their eggs was an hour very well spent. Bliss!
It’s dragonfly time!
Just when the birds disappear behind the trees’ leafy boughs, the dragonflies emerge to take their place in Nature’s line-up of masterly aviators.
Earlier this week I spent over 30 minutes watching these magnificent Broad-bodied chasers (Libellula depressa), two males circling and defending their territories from each other, keeping watch from their favourite perches, mating with two females, and those females then depositing their eggs amongst the water plants. It was magical!
For this last day of National Insect Week 2016 we have one of my favourite types of insect, the dragonfly. Meet the Broad-bodied Chasers (or Libellula depressa to the scientifically minded). If we’re being politically correct, we won’t call them fat – they just happen to be a bit wider in the body than most other dragonflies. Both male and female start off a golden brown colour, but Mr B-B C soon develops a rather dapper layer of blue powdery granules (pruinescence) which matches perfectly with the yellow dots they both have along the sides of their abdomens.
I’ve seen two pairs of Broad-bodied Chasers so far this year, both around small ponds which the males regularly patrol to ensure no intrusions into their territories. I’ve also been privileged to see them mating, a rather brief in-flight encounter, and then to see the female ovipositing – dipping her lower abdomen quickly into the water while in flight, to deposit her eggs into vegetation below the water level (as shown in the photos below). If you’re in southern England or Wales, these beauties will be around till September so go check out the show.