Thursday, 27 May 2010

Odonata make a comeback

To celebrate the return of dragonflies to this blog I would like to share my visit to Leybourne Lakes this week.
It is close to junction 4 on the M20 in Kent (Google Earth; 51.18’ 55”N 0. 26’ 05”E). I only explored a tiny bit of the area and managed to get myself stung to bits in the process. From the first bridge I could see some male Banded Demoiselles in the stream that flows from the west.
I later found a female, but could not get a picture of the males.
On the rough field to the north of the stream were Common Blue Damselflies by the hundred. Most of them were light-coloured, teneral males.
Some of them were taking their blue colouration, but retained a slight pinky blush to their complexion.
This female beautifully demonstrates her distinctive “torpedo” pattern.
They appeared to like it among the nettles and I am still suffering after rolling around to get these photos.
Blue-tailed Damselflies were present by the stream, but in low numbers still.
I only had one sighting of some Azure Damselflies with only these 4 individuals.
An Emperor Dragonfly whizzed past overhead.
In the rough grass, I found a 4-spotted Chaser who was reluctant to be approached and maintained a healthy distance from me.
A few birds showed, with a Common Whitethroat singing and feeding chicks in the hemlock on the bank of the stream.
A long-tailed Tit was seen in the climbing tree.
I moved on to another site hoping to get a glimpse of a Large Red Damselfly and was lucky enough to find this obliging specimen at Bluebell AC lake at junction 6 on the M20.

Species Seen;

Banded Demoiselle 14, Common Blue Damselfly 400, Blue-tailed Damselfly 8, Azure Damselfly 4, Large Red Damselfly 4, Emperor Dragonfly 1, 4-Spotted Chaser 2,