Saturday, 12 June 2021

Prees Heath - Emperor Dragonfly

I'm currently on 15 species of Odonata for the year in Shropshire and I wasn't expecting to add to that whilst looking for Butterflies! That is until an Emperor Dragonfly turned up whilst phographing Silver-studded Blues! A check of the the nearby pool and another one from the footpath gave a tally of seven on the wing here!

I never saw a single one land either!

They were too busy chasing each other off from where they had staked a territory!

Come to think about it, they were too bust chasing, I didn't see thewm eat much prey either!

So long...

Prees Heath - Silver studded Blue

It's been ten years since I put in an appearance at Prees Heath for the Silver-studded Blue Butterflies! Too long as they made a perfect morning weather-wise even more special!

I'd missed the main emergence but there was one male sat on a bramble, letting the final fold in the wing unwrap!

Ladies first for the blog but in reality this was one of the last ones to be found!

Feeding almost exclusively on Birds-foot Trefoil

Then sat on a leaf whilst the heat was building up around midday! Despite the presence of nearby males, not a single one tried his luck!

A few more pics of some males, I took loads and couldn't bear to delete many of them :-)

The mandatory closed wing shot so the granular studs can be enjoyed!

Then wings open for sheer delight!

Arty views whilst perched on a stick!

Then back to the first shots of the day, a supremely fresh male!

Maybe I should make an annual event of this rather than celebrating decades?

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Wyre Forest - Pearl bordered Fritillary and other insects

 Another Lepidoptera mission with Dave Chapman - this time to the Wyre Forest and a bit of catch up on the butterflies for me! First up for me however was a Woodland Dor Beetle(Anoplotrupes stercorosus) scuttling across the path!

Incredible violet iridescence to the underparts!

The marmalade fly (Episyrphus balteatus) seen here in flight is usually everywhere by now but it's looking like a bad year for Hoverflies!

Plus a pristine female Broad-bodied Chaser sunning herself!

My catch up was with Pearl-bordered Fritillary and I was quite surprised to see some really fresh ones!

Time for a better background than the path!

And a series concentrating on the underside of the  hindwing...

The 'pearls' running along the hindwing edged in red.

Thank goodness you can decipher the cryptic patterning of these next two shots - Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. The dark markings at the top edge of the forwing are joined together. 

Looks like I need another trip to check out the underside pattern once more :-)

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Whixall Moss - White faced Darters

 Always go back! After my last session at Whixall Moss, I had been missing female and a nice mature male White-faced Darter. It was a perfect day with quite a few on the wing...

Here's an immature female recognisable from the thicker parallel abdomen and with the opaque wings...


A teneral / immature male

An near mature male next with the red markings still showing a hint of yellow below the thorax...

No sign of yellow on this male...

There was much more to enjoy as well, covered in another post!

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Shrewsbury - Banded Demoiselles

 Keeping the Clubtails company, there were dozens of Banded Demoiselles freshly emerged too. It would be a tough decision to find a more colourful Damsel?

Here's the 'unbanded' female...

Plus the unmistakeable male!

Just look at that iridescence...

Shrewsbury - Common Clubtails emerge!

It's been nine years since I turned my attention to Common Clubtails and a chance visit to Shrewsbury Quarry proved to be my most successful mission yet with at least 10 seen!

Some were simple flyovers or disturbed and quickly gone but there were some pics to be had as they don't seem fussy regarding their perches! Any vegetation flowers of Dandelion in seed will do!

This very obliging female bears witness to that statement...

Whilst they the colours are similar at this stage, the more waisted abdomen indicates this one is a male...

And for once, not cropping too close with my favourite from the session! 

Dozens of passers by completely oblivious to these amazing moments...

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Whixall Moss - Darter and Damsel

I had planned to spend most of the day on the Moss but roughly 40 mins into the session, a rather nasty thunderstorm scuppered that - I was soaked to the skin! Never mind, at least I didn't get struck by lightning and I did at least see my main target (at the third visit). A super fresh teneral male  White-faced Darter!

The appearance at this stage is very much like a female but the markings, shape and appendages point to 'male'. I'm sure I'll be back to find a mature male in due course?

There was no shortage of Large Red Damselfly and this male was the last but one insect I pointed the camera at!

The last was this Common Heath moth (one of two seen). next to the main path.