Tuesday, 17 July 2012

First Hawkers of the Year

Sunny morning, a couple of hours to spare, so trekked up to Thornley Woods Pond to check on southern hawker emergence.

Plenty of damsels noted, 30+ Azure and c20 large red, before a scrutiny of the back vegetation produced no fewer than 5 emerging hawkers in various stages, from just popped out to ready to fly. There were also at least a dozen exuviae scattered around, four on dead branches sticking out of the centre of the pond looking quite eerie in close-up.
Azure damsels in the mating wheel
Large red damsel, plenty around today
Emerging Southern Hawker female
One of five seen today but all too distant for decent photos
Four exuviae can be seen hanging from these dead branches.
An eerie scene viewed in close-up

Disappointed not to see any adults though, as the sun shone throughout my hour long stay and at this time of year I would normally expect to see patrolling males and ovipositing females. I dread to say it but can only think the appalling weather is taking its toll on the hawkers too. Thankfully the forecast is better over the next week so things may yet improve.

Don't know why I bothered but I called in to Far Pasture on the way back home, and was greeted by the usual barren scene. A few azure/blue damsels but that's all, but if the forecast is correct then we should be getting common and ruddy darters here before long. Fingers crossed!

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