Saturday 30 July 2011

The third Emperor

Following the extremely rare Vagrant Emperor dragonflies that turned up at the farm in late April, and with the "bog-standard" Emperor a common resident species, we completed a 2011 hat-trick this week when a male Lesser Emperor was found. Although it's a rare migrant to Britain, recorded for the first time as recently as 1996, this is our second record following one in 2004. Lesser Emperors occur throughout southern Europe.

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:

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