Monday, 4 July 2011

Emperors and Golden Rings cruising around

After weeks and weeks of poor Odonata days, warm weather and a change of month altered fortunes with 18 species encountered over the weekend.

A tour of Tophill Low NR in East Yorks, in the company of Doug Fairweather and EY Dragonfly himself, Paul Ashton, turned up plenty. The highlights including Emerald Damselflies, Emperor Dragonflies and c47 Ruddy Darter.

For more cracking photos and the day’s numbers, click on the Yorkshire BDS site here.

Sunday saw me join Paul and Daniel Ashton for a trip up north. First stop was Ganton. Not famous for much but a good spot for photographing both Demoiselles together. Needless to say, with the sun out, and the Beautifuls and Bandeds constantly dancing around, there was little chance of one posing for a picture.

After that we headed onto the North Yorkshire Moors. With good numbers of Keeled Skimmer seen recently at Fen Bog, we opted for Tranmire Bog instead. Excellent little site and no walking required to see Keeled Skimmers – I think it is about 30 strides from where you park the car! However, despite the recent rain, the bog ‘appeared’ rather dry, though we did manage 5 Keeled Skimmers, Broad-bodied Chaser was a site tick, small numbers of Large Red Damselflies flitted around and the Golden-ringed Dragonflies put on a cracking show cruising up and down the stream.

With Cropton Forest providing a change of habitat, and a couple of sheltered pools, a quick hour in the forest added both Brown and Common Hawker to the day list, more Large Reds and more Golden Rings.

Find of the day, picked out by sharp-eyed Daniel, was this Common Hawker larvae.

We ended in Wheeldale. More Golden-ringed Dragons here, and by far the best site to photograph them. Here are the best!

For a summary of the day counts, and more photos, click Ganton, Cropton, Tranmire Bog and Wheeldale on the Yorkshire BDS sightings page.

I haven’t counted up the butterfly species total for the weekend. The highlights though involved a massive 133 Marbled Whites at Tophill Low NR on Saturday, while the moors turned up good numbers of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 1 Dark-green Fritillary and an unexpected Marbled White flying around Tranmire Bog.

The lights of the Tophill Low NR moth traps caught lots - but nothing much of real significant interest. The best of the haul included Map-winged Swift, Light Emerald and our annual Orthopygia glaucinalis. Normally we catch one a year, so having two in the traps probably means we won’t be seeing another for 12 months! No new site ticks this weekend, but 2+ Hummingbird Hawkmoths whizzing around was a site year tick for us.

The first Leptura quadrifasciata (Four-banded Longhorn) of the year was at Tophill Low NR on Saturday while a few Rutpela maculata (Black and Yellow Longhorn) were noted.

Finally the birds. Two ‘1st summer’ Little Gulls at Tophill on Saturday and a Little Egret at Tophill Low NR on Sunday the best there. Click here for all the latest Tophill news. Up on the moors, the Crossbills of Cropton Forest on Sunday ‘chipped’ away all afternoon.

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