Saturday, 27 June 2015

Norfolk Hawker at Amwell

Had a cryptic tweet from Darren Bast yesterday-two new dragonflies for Herts. Further information eventually emerged that another Scarce Chaser had been seen at Amwell, and a Norfolk Hawker, both at Tumbling Bay on Thursday. I couldn't get down in the evening but Barry had seen two oviposting with a third also present. More info here
The weather today was pretty good, though rather more cloud than I would have liked. Surprised to be on my own when I got there around 0930. After 45 minutes, all I managed to see were a few Emperors, plus the usual Azures, Common Blues and Red Eyes and a very fresh Common Darter,  plus a pair of Bullfinch so I went over to Hollycross. Here I met a local couple who had been here a while. We picked up a few Four Spots, Black tail Skimmer and Blue Tails as well as the species mentioned earlier. A few Meadow Browns, Small Whites and a Red Admiral were the only butterflies seen.
After a while we went back to Tumbling Bay where Beachy had staked out a spot, Ade and Tony Hukin arrived shortly after. There was a lot more activity, with many more Emperors, including one or two ovipositing. Four Spots were very active, and these caused a bit of confusion when Ade picked up one of the Norfolk Hawkers over the reeds. Probably two were present, but very mobile and although we got good views they were very brief, according to Ade they were following the same pattern as Friday flying predominantly along the narrow section of water just above the level of the reeds. They proved to be a bit elusive and hard to keep track of, and the only sustained views I got were of one hawking over the far western corner until it was driven off by an Emperor and a Four Spot. To add to the confusion Beachy and Ade picked up another hawker over the buddlejas-this turned out to be a Brown Hawker.
Tony Hukin found another very fresh Common Darter-with all the rare dragonflies turning up I was checking each one just in case one was a  Red Veined. Still need that for my Herts list. My first Comma for June did not stop unfortunately.
Around mid day, the cloud was building up so we all decided to call it a day, though Tony was intending to return if conditions improved.

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