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Thursday, 12 July 2018

Eight species of Damselflies and Dragonflies on a walk from Horsted Keynes in West Sussex

 On 11 July 2018, we (William Coleman and I) set off from Horsted Keynes in search of Odonata.  We walked sections of the Greenwich Meridian Trail and other paths and spotted eight Odonata species.  Above Four-spotted Chaser, Libellula quadrimaculata.
 Black-tailed Skimmer, male Orthetrum cancellatum.
 Black-tailed Skimmer and Common Blue Damselfly
 Common Blue Damselfly, Ellanagma cyanthigerum
 This Damselfly is what we had hoped to find --- a White-legged Damselfly, a male, Platycnemis pennipes.

 Blue-tailed Damselfly
 Gatekeeper butterfly on Fleabane, Pulicaria dysenterica.

 Azure Damselfly above.
 A fleeting shot of what may be a Downy Emerald, Cordulia aenea.  These are grainy images so any corrections are welcomed.

Danehill Brook feeds into this small, rather mucky looking pond, which had at least three species flying around: all difficult to identify from fuzzy pictures.
This just might be a Common Hawker female Aeshna juncea.  The abdomen colours don't look right to be a Brown Hawker.  If it is a Common Hawker then this is a rare sight in Sussex.  It is described as "largely absent from much of eastern and south-eastern England, which lacks suitable habitat."  Source: Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland.
 If you expand this picture then you can see a blue and green dragonfly.
 It is possibly an Emperor, Anax imperator.
 Also flying around was what appears to be a pair of copulating dragonflies: which species though is unclear.  From the size and flying pattern perhapsthey are Black-tailed Skimmers but it is impossible to confirm that.

Click on any picture to expand it.  See also details of my illustrated talk at

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Dragonflies and Damselflies at Wakehurst and the Loder Valley, West Sussex, UK, 10 July 2018

 Black-tailed Skimmer male in the Loder Valley
 Over mature Black-tailed Skimmer female? on the footpath in the garden.
 The newly constructed board walk is spectacular.
 Common Blue Damselfly
 Female Common Blue damselfly drab form
 Another Common Blue amongst very many.
 Azure Damselflies tandem pair being harassed by a male.

A Blue-tailed Damselfly

A Meadow Grasshopper.

Butterflies of Wakehurst and the Loder Valley, West Sussex, 10 July 2018

 Some butterflies photographed in the meadows and woodland glades are shown here.  Damselflies and Dragonflies, beetle and grasshopper may be in a separate post.
No Purple Emperors or White Admirals were observed.  However observation time was limited by a desire to escape the attentions of horse flies.

Small White
Large White
Ringlets above and below

 Three Silver-washed Fritillaries were seen.

Meadow Brown
 Large Skipper

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Ragwort control on the South Downs, Wolstonbury Hill, Friday 6 July 2018

 Armed with garden fork, muscle power and big bags the Friends of Wolstonbury were hard at it removing Ragwort.  I tackled an area on the slope of the hill where we had worked the previous year.
 Down in the valley colleagues were hard at work.


A buzzard family mewed overhead soaring on the breeze.
 Cinnabar moth caterpillars had reduced many plants to bare stems.

 Marbled White butterflies were very common.
 And grasshoppers too.
 In the track to the hill Nettle-leaved Bellflower was flowering.
 It was hot, exhausting work and because of the heat, I finished early at 12.30hr.  The physical activity had large benefits in reducing my blood pressure and heart rate afterwards, which is better than pills any day.  Bitter or Pils... now that is another matter.

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