Wednesday, 19 June 2013

More and More Norfolk Hawkers

Matt Hall collecting exuviae.
Photo by Ian Dawson. 
This afternoon I joined Martin Davies and  Ian Dawson on the bank of the Hayling Pit to watch several rare Norfolk Hawker dragonflies patrolling and holding territories over a dense patch of water-soldier weed.

Norfolk Hawker exuvia.
Phot by Ian Dawson.
This is the same patch that Ian and Ranger Matt Hall checked out by boat last week. They found no adults but they did find the exuvea (shed skins) from several Norfolk Hawkers that had emerged in the previous few days. Since then Ian has been looking through his telescope for more skins on the leaves of the water soldier. In all he has found 29!

We have an excellent list of dragonflies and damselflies at Paxton and we are so delighted to have this nationally rare dragonfly on the reserve to complement the set we have and add to our growing status as a nationally important site for wildlife.

As we were watching the big, brown dragonflies with huge green eyes, we saw several freshly emerged four-spotted chasers and a range of damselflies including blue, azure, variable and red-eyed as well the more flamboyant, metallic, banded demoiselles.  Up until now, most dragonflies seen have been scarce chasers (another Paxton special) and hairy dragonflies.

Now that the birds are quietening down, it's time to get out your dragonfly book and try and see more than ten species in one visit. You can do it at Paxton Pits, if it's not raining. I still find all those skinny blue ones a challenge though.

Adult taken on 19/6
ny Ian Dawson.