Saturday, 30 July 2011
After I'd waited for about 15 minutes today, it duly appeared over the northern-most of our two specially-designed dragonfly ponds. It gave great views down to 10 feet as it cruised up and down, doing its best to evade aerial attacks by the Emperors. It failed to land whilst I was there but it was more obliging for Dougy and he got this rather good photo:
Later, he found two or three Migrant Hawkers along the boardwalk:
Thanks to Dougy for those photos. I had to make do with shots of a pair of Common Darters mating in flight, one of the scarce Red-veined Darters (at least two present today) and a female Emperor laying eggs in the pond:
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
There have been plenty of entries recently in the visitors' feedback book in the reserve's information centre. On the whole, it seems that we're getting things right and most people comment favourably on such things as the tranquillity, landscape, bird-song, flowers and butterflies. Of course, opinions vary on some things, as the following extracts prove!
"What a shame you do not allow dogs"
"Dog-free - what a joy!"
"No dogs - bliss!"
".....dismayed to see a no dogs sign"
"Some of us think no dogs is bliss"
"Well done on an excellent trail"
"I tried to follow the trail guide....after walking up and down the fields fruitlessly for an hour I came back"
"It was easy to find our way round and it wasn't suitable for dogs"
"....well sign-posted walk around"
"Thank goodness no dogs"
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Below is the closely-related Water Scorpion. Both of them have breathing tubes extending from their tails. The front legs are used like a powerful pair of pincers.
Many thanks to David Wheeler for the photos.
Monday, 11 July 2011
The group collected all the exuviae they could find and identified 268 Emperors (150 females, 118 males), 45 Common Darters, 14 Four-spotted Chasers (8 females, 6 males), 6 Black-tailed Skimmers (5 females, 1 male) and 14 Emerald Damselflies! Many thanks to Steve Jones for these figures.
The following day Dougy Wright and Steve led a very enjoyable three hour walk, concentrating mostly on wildlife in and around the ponds. Seventeen people attended and despite the lack of sunshine, we did really well - thanks guys. The highlight for me were the Water Stick-insects.
Thanks to Dougy for this species list:
Butterflies: Clouded Yellow, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Small White, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Grayling, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Holly Blue
Moths: Silver Y, Straw Dot, Pyrausta despicata
Odonata: Emperor, Golden-ringed, Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Darter, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Beautiful Demoiselle
Other Insects: Water Stick-insect, Water Scorpion, Great Green Bush-cricket, Long-winged Conehead, Meadow Grasshopper
Reptiles: Slow Worm, Common Lizard, Adder skin
Amphibians: Common Toad, Common Frog
Mammals: Fox, Common Shrew, Wood-mouse
I forgot to take my camera, but you'll find some quality photos on Steve Rogers' blog:http://www.swopticsphoto.com/2011/07/field-trip-to-windmill-farm-lizard.html