Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Rare Butterflies and Damselflies

Rare Butterflies and Damselflies in Lincolnshire

I had planned to visit Saltfleetby nature reserve today to look for dragonflies, but when I saw white admiral images postd on Facebook, I contacted Roger and we arranged to meet up at 10.00 am.  Shortly afterwards Roger got back in touch; a mutal contact had told him that by 10.00 am they had disappeared up into the trees where they roost and also presumably to escape the heat.  White admirals spend much of their time in the tree canopy but come down to nectar on bramble but we needed to be there early.  We met up at Southrey Wood at 8.00 am and they were already on the wing.  We had an excellent couple of hours with upi to 20 individuals, but temperature rapidly increased and by 10.00 there were none to be found.  We did see other insects as well including a couple of black-tailed skimmers, a female broad bodied chaser, a couple of large whites, good numbers of meadow browns 3 commas, 2 red admirals, a few large skippers and a humming bird hawkmoth.

To view large, please click on an image.
Black-tailed Skimmer
Black-tailed Skimmer
Broad Bodied Chaser
Comma
Comma
Hummingbird Hawk-moth
Hummingbird Hawk-moth
Hummingbird Hawk-moth
Red Admiral
White Admiral
White Admiral
White Admiral
White Admiral
White Admiral
White Admiral
White Admiral
White Admiral
White Admiral
White Admiral

Once our quarry disappeared up into the tree canopy, it was time to head off to the upper reaches of the  River Ancholme for our second target: banded demoiselle damselflies.  In ever increasing temperatures we drove down a dusty narrow single track road along Snitterby Carr to the river.  And what a beautiful and remote spot.  The river here, although canalised and straight is narrow, reed fringed and clear enough to see the sandy bottom.  We could hear the sound of fallining water and made our way upriver to a spot where the River Rase flose into the Ancholme over a weir.  A little further upstream is the beautiful Harlam Hill Lock.  At the junction with the Rase we could, with care, get down to the water side.  It was not only beautiful but the air was dancing with the fluttering, moth-like shapes of the demoiselles, especially the males who seem to spend most of the time chasing each other while the females wait in the reeds to mate with the eventual victor.  The males are a brilliant blue colour with dark bands on their wings, while the females are an iridescent bottle green with no wing bands.  Again we had a wonderful time watching these beautiful insects, filling our memory cards with images and trying not to fall into the river, camera and all!!













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