Saturday, 28 January 2012

The missing link

Well after all those revelations from yesterday there appears to be only one species on my dragonfly list that hasn't yet been mentioned on these pages. So to complete the picture of my dragonfly sightings to date I go back to 28th July 2000 when I observed two Lesser Emperor males at Joe's Pond at Rainton in Co Durham.
This is a very rare vagrant from southern Europe first recorded in the UK only four years earlier so to have two at the same site was a very rare occurence indeed. They are a mainly mid-brown colour throughout, bar green eyes and a pale blue band at the base of the abdomen, and this is the feature which stood out on the flighty specimens I observed that very fine day.
Lesser Emperor
The pale blue band at the base of the abdomen
 is the outstanding feature when seen in flight like this

So my complete list of records from July 1997 to the end of summer 2011 is as follows :

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens
Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa
Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula
Azure Damselfly Coenagrion lunulatum
Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum
Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans
Ebony Jewelwing Calopteryx maculata
Azure Hawker Aeshna caerulea
Common Hawker Aeshna juncea
Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta
Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea
Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis
Norfolk Hawker Aeshna isosceles
Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator
Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope
Golden-ringed Dragonfly Cordulegaster boltonii
Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata
Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa
Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum
Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens
Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum
Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum
Black Darter Sympetrum danae
Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolumbii
Common Green Darner Anax junius
Halloween Pennant Celithemis eponina
Scarlet Skimmer Crocothemis servilia
Roseate Skimmer Orthemis ferruginea
Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera
Carolina Saddlebags Tramea carolina 

So there you have it, a paltry 30 species and only 7 of them damselflies.
My British list totals 23 and my Gateshead list stands at 17.
Me thinks I shall be trying to add a few new names to the lists this year as my aim is to see all the British breeding species before I carc it, and that's not easy when you don't drive and have three ankle-biters in tow most of the time, better start soon! 

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