Sunday, 19 June 2016

Dragonflies at Amwell

I have not managed to see all that many dragonflies, butterflies etc this year as virtually every weekend from April has been cold, cloudy or wet. Up and until today, my Hertfordshire dragonfly year list has amounted to the one single Large Red Damselfly seen in my garden, and there have not been all that many butterflies either.
I was thinking of going up to Titchwell with Colin for the Great Knot today. Its been around for a few days, though rather mobile and with a number of other species there would have made a nice day out. However, yesterdays news of the bird flying off before 8am, by which time the car park was full, and not being seen all day rather put us off the idea of a speculative trip. We had of course seen the legendary Great Dot at Teeside in 1996, initially on Greenabella Marsh at dawn (rather dark but identifiable) and later on Seal Sands al long way off (described by one wag on Bird Forum as partly obscured by the curvature of the Earth) and it would have been nice to see another in better light. Maybe next week as it has been back at Titchwell for much of the day today.
Since it was rather warmer and sunnier than expected I went to Amwell specifically for insects. Roger and Dan were there when I arrived, Trevor and John Bartlett not far behind and eventually William turned up. Not much was happening from a birding point on the lake-no hirundines or Swifts, very few Common Terns and most of the ducks are going into eclipse. The Egyptian goslings are still alive, though I only saw five, one Redshank was seen, and though I only saw two Little Ringed Plovers, there are apparently six around.
After a short while we headed off to Hollycross-my first visit this year. Damselflies were abundant as expected, with good numbers of Common and Azure Blues, some Red Eyes and Blue tails, a few Large Reds and a few Banded Demoiselles (though fewer than I would have expected). On the boardwalk, I picked up a male Broad Bodied Chaser, plus a couple of Four Spotted Chasers-one later seen having a dispute with a female Broad Bodied. At least two Hairy Dragonflies were present, with one female seen ovipositing, and one Emperor was on the wing.
Only a few butterflies were seen, mainly Meadow Browns, with singles of Green Veined White and Speckled Wood. William picked up many insects but the best one was the Ruby Tailed Wasp that proved rather difficult to photograph.

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