Monday, 25 April 2011

And then there were two.....

I was down at the farm again this morning (for the sixth day running!). The main target was yesterday's Vagrant Emperor, which I had missed by about an hour. After a fruitless wait around where it had been seen, I decided to check the pools. I met Tony at the dragonfly ponds and he had just found a Red-veined Darter. This is another scarce immigrant dragonfly and it obligingly posed for us:

Then I wandered over to Ruan Pool, the most northerly of the ponds on the reserve. As I approached I did a quick sweep with my binoculars - a large brown dragonfly hawking over the rushes made my pulse quicken. Quickly getting into a better position I could see the narrow pale blue band on the abdomen and the brown eyes with yellow band around the back of the head. Male Vagrant Emperor! A quick text to Tony, Dougy and Mark and, whilst waiting for them to show up, I realised there were two.

After half an hour we had all had terrific views of them. Mark emphasised how special this record is as, until the last few days, only a handful of people had ever seen this species in Britain. There were another five Red-veined Darters here too, a pair of which were in tandem and laying eggs in the water. Also flying in the last couple of days have been Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers and Common Blue, Emerald and Large Red Damselflies. Thanks to Tony Blunden for these shots of the V. Emperors:

On the way back to the car, I checked out some orchids that Dougy had found yesterday. They are Green-winged Orchids, the first ever found on the reserve. They have no doubt appeared due to the low-intensity grazing that has been carried out on the pastures over the last 10 years. What a fantastic Easter weekend it's been!

Thanks to Dougy Wright for the next two photos from the farm today (Sedge Warbler and Dunlins):


  1. Great weekend!! I think I had small red damselfly there today too - did not check leg colour though! as I said yesterday your hard was it paying off!! Good effort

  2. lol just reread that - your hard work is paying off!!

  3. Top stuff Andy. Lets hope the Phantom Flusher of Old Lizard Town doesnt ruin it for others....