Sunday 20 June 2021

Sandwich Bay - 19th June 2021

Having heard about the Dainty Damselflies at Sandwich Bay last year I contacted the Sandwich Bay Observatory to see if they would be running any field trip in 2021 to see them. Earlier this year I got an email saying they were and we got booked on the am trip on the 19th. 

Sandwich Bay Observatory field trips this summer were limited by the fact the Open Golf starts next week and a lot of the access will be closed off, plus it will be very busy. They were going initially to do this weekend only, but it sold out within an hour, so they added some earlier dates in. They plan to run more next year, so keep an eye out on their website field trip section They only charge £5, which we thought was great value, we would have been happy at £10 each - there is also a £1 toll fee.

It was dull cool overcast day, but it proved excellent for photographing the Dainties, as they were all sat on top of the grass stems pretty motionless, whereas if it had been hot and sunny they probably would have been extremely active. In the end we saw at least 45, 10% of their higher count of 450. We also had 11 Variable, a few Azure and Blue-tailed, and a single Emerald Damselfly, a single Common Darter, and one of two Red-veined Darters, plus a single fresh Four-spotted Chaser. A single Painted Lady and a couple of fresh Small Skippers were about it on the butterfly front. not surprising given the overcast conditions. 

We had a look at some of the local Orchids to round the day off.

Dainty Damselflies

Azure Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Variable Damselfly

Red-veined Darter

Four-spotted Chaser

Emerald Damselfly

Common Darter

Small Skipper

Marsh Helleborine

Lizard Orchid

Friday 18 June 2021

Crockford Bridge and Latchmoor Bottom - 16th June 2021

We fancied a bit of time enjoying the New Forest and made our way to Crockford Bridge mainly for Southern Damselflies. Always a pleasant part of the south to visit, a single Green Hairstreak and three fresh Silver-studded Blues were seen on route from the enclosure car park to the stream. There was plenty of activity and many Southern Damselflies were seen, in the region of 120, at least 25 Keeled Skimmers, along with a good number of Beautiful Demoiselles, three fresh Small Red Damselflies, three Golden-ringed Dragonflies. Bumped into Stephen Rowland down south form Norfolk for the Sandwich Bay Dainty filed trip on Saturday.

Green Hairstreak

Silver-studded Blue

Keeled Skimmers

Beautiful Demoiselles

Southern Damselflies

Azure Damselflies, one of three amongst the large number of

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Small Red Damselfly

By the time we made it over to Latchmoor Bottom it had become a little dull after a very bright hot middle of the day. Very little seemed to be active and finding any Scarce Blue-tails seemed unlikely, and as expected none were found. Only a few Keeled Skimmers were seen, along with a single Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Broad-bodied Chaser, where usually the area would be very busy.

Beautiful Demoiselle

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Wraysbury GP - 14th June 2021

This session didn't quite run to plan as a trainee that had expected to join us wasn't able to make it. Nevertheless, CL and I got seven nets up and processed 54 birds. These included the first young Whitethroats of the year.

The first Whitethroat juvenile of the year.

There were 11 recaptured birds, including a couple of individuals suitable for inclusion in the Whitethroat RAS, one being an aged 5 bird that had been ringed elsewhere. 

5M Whitethroat AFK6796. This bird was hatched last year, but we look forward to hearing exactly when it was ringed. This may give an indication whether Wraysbury is its natal site and the capture occurred after it started its migration.  Many of our breeding birds return here to the place where we ringed them shortly after they fledged.

Report from the BTO shows this bird was ringed at Lancing College, West Sussex on 11th August 2020.
This may well support the theory that it was captured as it made its way to mainland Europe for the first time. Wraysbury is 69km NNW of Lancing.

Emperor Dragonfly

Total:  43(11)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Song Thrush - 0 (1)
Robin - 3
Dunnock - 4 (2)
Whitethroat - 6 (4 + 1 control)
Garden Warbler - 1 (2)
Blackcap - 6
Chiffchaff - 3 (1)
Blue Tit - 11
Great Tit - 6
Starling - 2

Langham Pond, Runnymede and Hilfield Park Reservoir - 13th June 2021

 Another visit to Langham Pond on Runnymede that turned out to be a good decent Odonata pond with a good mix of species. Emeralds were present with three Downy and a single Brilliant, Broad-bodied and Four-spotted Chasers, single Black-tailed Skimmer, usual Damselflies and somewhat unexpectedly a Golden-ringed Dragonfly. 

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Red-eyed Dragonfly

Emperor Dragonfly

Downy Emerald

Brilliant Emerald

Also came across a single Meadow Brown, the first of the year.

Meadow Brown

In the later part of the afternoon I dropped into Hilflield Park reservoir int he hope of coming across Lesser Emperor or more Red-veined Darter. It was hot and a little quiet on the activity front with neither of the target species seen, with the species present being very much similar to those at Langham Pond, minus the Golden-ringed and Emeralds.

Broad-bodied Chaser

Black-tailed Skimmer

Emperor Dragonfly

Four-spotted Chaser

Black Park & Stoke Common - 12th June 2021

A visit to two locals areas, both with remnant areas of Heathland, that whilst are top sites of Odonata, can produce a few records. The local Country Park lake had report of Downy Emerald there and I could not recall if I had checked it before for them as it is quite large, and not overly well vegetated, so I had assumed was perhaps not good for them. It turned out to quite busy, with at least 11 Downy Emeralds present, around 25 Four-spotted Chasers and around 150 Red-eyed Damselflies present, but not much else on the lake. The northern pools on the remnant heathland had the usual mix of Broad-bodied, some more Fours-spotted Chasers, at least nine Emperors, at least three fresh Black-tailed Skimmers, a couple of Hairy Dragonflies and one fresh emerged Common Darter.

Four-spotted Chaser

Broad-bodied Chaser

Black-tailed Skimmer

Emperor Dragonfly

Red-eyed Damselfly

Downy Emeralds

Our first Large Skipper of the year was seen juts as we made our way out of the wood.

Large Skipper

Stoke Common was as expected, whilst a larger area of heathland with a couple of pools, the biggest one is full of grass and Odonata species can be low in variety and number, though I found Willow Emerald there last year, and a day or so after this visit someone has reported Scarce Blue-tail on the Common. We retuned in the evening and had a couple of Noctule Bats flying over the western side and had a churring Nightjar just as about the time light had more or less gone and was alas not visually seen.

Broad-bodied Chaser

Thursday 10 June 2021

Oaken Wood - 9th June 2021

 A visit primarily for Wood White and as in previous years hopefully the odd White-legged Damselfly. 

Wood Whites were thinly spread through the wood though 14 were seen along with a fly though Painted Lady and single Dingy and Grizzled Skippers.

A couple of White-leggeds were seen together with a single Emperor and Hairy Dragonflies, and two Broad-bodied Chasers.

Wood Whites

Broad-bodied Chaser

White-legged Damselflies

Dingy Skipper

Grizzled Skipper