Saturday, 9 July 2011

Titterstone Clee - Pumilio!

The next target was to try and see if the Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly on Titterstone was a ‘one off’ fluke? After an hour or so of searching, it was heading that way with barely a couple of dozen Damselflies seen! These included: Common, Blue-tailed, Azure and Large Red Damselfy. Eventually after an hour or so of searching, Rob shouted out ‘Pumilio’! It had been a long difficult search but there it was sitting pretty – a pristine male Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly!

Time for a few shots to show the key features

The blue is restricted to segment 9 with only a small percentage of segment 8 (in Blue-tailed damsel, the blue is exclusive to segment 8)

Most of the field guides refer to small black dots also being present on segment 9. These marks are quite variable however and on this individual, were more extensive.

Here's some images of adult male Blue-tailed Damselfly, also present to show the difference (the blue is restricted to segment 8)

Immature males have a greenish thorax.

The most juvenile forms have a reddish thorax with a dorsal black stripe

A clatter of wings in the vegetation alerted me to ‘something much bigger’ also present and eventually I found the cause with two big eyes looking back at me! The fly puts the size of these impressive insects into perspective....

I’ve normally only seen Common Hawker up here (our first thought) but with the bold markings on the thorax and other subtle features, this was in fact a teneral Southern Hawker!

Teneral Dragonflies are as obliging as they come and here is the Hawker after it's maiden flight....

Close up interest....

Eventually it flew off and was lost to sight. A nice bonus find but no question about star insect - the Scarce Blue-tailed Damsel truly was the ‘find’ of the day! Bearing in mind they haven’t been ‘officially’ recorded here since 2006, a pretty important find too!