For illustrated talks on natural history and history see www.peterlovetttalks.co.uk

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for www.peterlovetttalks.co.uk

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Seven Dragonfly and Damselfly species counted on Wolstonbury Hill, West Sussex, UK

Under the direction of the National Trust ranger, Mike Botterill, the Friends of Wolstonbury were busy pulling up Ragwort last Friday and carrying out an impressive species count in the Dewpond, which looked good after its restoration in 2013.

Ragwort is poisonous to horses if dried in a hay crop and hundreds of plants were pulled up this day to limit its seed set and spread to adjoining farmland.  It was hot, backbreaking work and the trailer was filled to overflowing.  Other work such as brush cutting is carried out at other times of the year.  Please see http://www.wolstonbury.com/index.htm if you are interested in the natural history of this lovely hill and would like to work with a friendly and knowledgeable group of volunteers... or if you would simply like to follow their work and make a financial contribution to this important preservation of our wildlife.

This blog entry is restricted to the Dragonflies and Damselflies seen on this day.

 An Emperor dragonfly, Anax imperator (above and below) laid eggs in a couple of places in the pond.

 Azure Damselfly, Coenagrion puella male above.
 And Common Blue Damselflies, Enallagma cyathigerum mating in the wheel position which is unique to this group of insects
 An aptly named, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Ischnura elegans 

 A mature male Broad-bodied Chaser, Libellula depressa above
 and a female laying eggs
 guarded as she does so by the male.
video
See a video clip of the action above.
Immature Common Darters, Sympetrum striolatum were also around.  At least three were spotted.

 Eagle-eyed Mike spotted a Damselfly in the act of emerging from its larval body.  At this stage they are very vulnerable to being eaten by birds.  So our activities this day may have provided an element of protection
In total we saw seven species, the last being what looked like a Banded Demoiselle but it didn't stay long and no photo' was possible.
This pond is teeming with other life and ALL dogs and horses must not enter this unique habitat.

Thanks are due to Mike Botterill of The National Trust and the Friends of Wolstonbury for this fun-packed day.  Click on any picture to enlarge it.

Finally the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) also conserves these fantastic creatures and their wetland habitats: see http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/membership

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