Thursday, 8 May 2014

"Here We Go, Here We Go, Here We Go!"

Had to call in to Thornley Woodlands Centre today so decided to check the pond while I was there, though (unlike Charles Dickens) not with any great expectations.
It wasn't even a particularly good day, the sporadic sunshine had ceased a while back when I got there, so I scoured the margins for any sign of emergence without much conviction when this caught my eye :

Could it be? 
Yes it is! First damsel of 2014
Teneral Large Red
Lo and behold! A freshly emerged Large Red Damselfly, which on closer inspection turned out to be a female, and by the colouration is of the uncommon fulvipes form.

Note the abdominal colouring of segment 6, mainly red
rather than all black (like s7) so is likely going to be of the
uncommon fulvipes form.  
A bit more searching and I tracked down the exuvia in the thick emergent grass clump.

Exuvia (larval casing) of Large Red damsel

Excellent! But despite a lot more searching, no more could be found either here or Far Pasture on the way back home.

So a few firsts today:
First dragon of 2014 (obviously)
First time I've EVER seen a teneral specimen of Large Red Damselfly (I see plenty of them, at plenty sites, but always fully mature adults).
First time I've seen an LRD exuvia.
First time I've noted proof of breeding for LRD at Thornley Woods Pond. It's always been a very good site for them and have noted much mating and oviposition here, but never before have I seen a damselfly exuvia or an emerging specimen, so nice to have proof.   
And first target of the 2014 season achieved, hunting down and photographing an immature example of a Large Red damsel. :-)

Good start, though I won't hold me breath 'til my next sighting, as I'm a bit busy over the next week preparing for the Spring Show at Newcastle City Library and by the time that's out of the way, my local patch (Far Pasture) will be closed for road repairs for SIX weeks. Nightmare!

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