Saturday 23rd July 2011

New dragonfly for me (well, almost new!)

Having returned from my journeys in footsteps of my great grandfather, entomologist G C Champion, after a few days of frantic packing up in the Netherlands, I have now made it back to Scotland, where the real countdown to my departure for Guatemala begins! Since I arrived, I have been busy with administrative tasks, and the weather has not been conducive to either butterfly- or dragonfly-watching, but today has been a glorious day, and I have notched up a few reasonable sightings.

The most exciting event of the day has been a morning visit to a known breeding site for the locally rare Keeled Skimmer dragonfly, which I was told about last year but I only managed to obtain a very fleeting glimpse of one individual before its flight season was over. Today, however, I was much luckier. I managed to locate two individuals, including one dipping in a boggy ditch along the side of a forest track and another which perched cooperatively for a few minutes, allowing me to finally obtain a few not very brilliant record shots of this species, which I had not photographed before. An almost-new dragonfly species for me – last year’s glimpse can hardly be counted!

Keeled Skimmer

Keeled Skimmer

Other species in the same location were Common Hawker, which I managed to photograph quite well (this species does not normally perch for long!), Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Common Darter (but surprisingly no Black Darters), and butterflies seen included Purple Hairstreak, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. An afternoon visit to the shore added Common Blue, Painted Lady and Green-veined and Large Whites, plus Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral. Not bad for SW Scotland after a prolonged dull and cloudy period!

Common Hawker, Aeschna juncea

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