Tuesday, 7 June 2016

B(r)anded a Failure

Having spent all day yesterday giving the front garden a much needed makeover (to the point of exhaustion I might add) then reading about everyone else's dragonhunting adventures on social media (esp. Banded Demoiselle sightings) I felt I had to get at least a mini-session in today before the sun disappeared altogether.

So with the morning appointment in the City out of the way I was back home for mid-day, got changed and went out again to look for bandeds along the Derwent, the banker site of HaggHill my first stop.
On approach I peered over the railings and was delighted to see a female scooting past downstream mid-river so thought my luck was in. But as I took position at the south end of the railings the sun which had dominated the day to that point, went for lunch behind a bank of cloud, and nothing happened for the next 15 minutes.

I was a bit miffed (to say the least) and decided to do something I hadn't done before, which was go down to the river bank where the demoiselles usually appear below. Now usually by now this area is a jungle of tall vegetation, but the winter floods have obviously washed a lot of it away leaving bare areas with new plants just sprouting. I made my way down but despite a lengthy wait only a few Large Red damsels were found, and with rumbles of thunder in the distance I didn't want to get caught out so far from home and was about to leave.

Large Red damsel where the demoiselles should have been

But just then the sun returned so I decided to give it a while longer, but a further 15 minutes was equally disappointing, just one sighting of what I believe was a teneral male fluttering up from the long grass on the opposite bank of the river, very dark body, milky wings with no visible blue spot.
A grey wagtail kept me entertained, hovering above the water, tail fanned, snatching mayflies out of the air, great sight. But eventually I called time on it, either the derwent demoiselles are slower to emerge this year or they'd been out playing all morning and it was now too hot for them (over 20 degrees apparently), but whatever, I'll have to try again soon for photos.

I trekked along to Clockburn Lake next; plenty of damsels but no demoiselles here either, but a look along the lakeside meadows produced two splendid examples of violacea and rufescens Blue-tails :

Plenty of mating action amongst the Azure damsels
on the outlet srream 

Violacea form female, a cracking example of violet splendour

Rufescens form female, as pink as freshly cooked prawn, great to see one in this stage of development

So Demoiselle ticked courtesy of that single female and later teneral (which is also a first I might add) but the mission was a miserable failure otherwise, but I'll be back, seeing these is a summer highlight not to be missed.


  1. I'll definitely be over for a look myself Alan. Maybe tomorrow if it's nice enough.

  2. I'll definitely be over for a look myself Alan. Maybe tomorrow if it's nice enough.

  3. I would leave it a while Liam, been there again today, a few more sightings but all distant.