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Monday, 16 August 2010

Damsels & Butterflies


Last Sunday (8th August) Rob W, Andrew E, John H and myself drove down to Essex to "twitch" some Dragonflies and Butterflies. Our first stop was the impressive Hadleigh Country park on Canvey island Essex. Finally, the weather looked good enough for a try for the impressive Southern Migrant Hawkers that have been seen here over the month or so (unfortunately every weekend since then has been windy, cloudy or pouring with rain or all three all together!)
Unfortunately despite intensive looking by all four (we'd spread checking out pools, dykes and bushes separately) out of us we failed to see any, it was especially galling to read later of someone (well done to them!) who searched an hour later than and found 8 individuals in 4 separate areas here.
We did however see several Scarce Emerald Damselflies, identified by looking intently at their anal appendages (I kid you not!) which should be curved. We also saw many Migrant Hawkers including one very bright one flying over the second pool.
We then moved on to Country park in Essex where walking along a line of Oak trees and brambles we saw one then several at least 4 very bright orange butterflies flying around, Silver Washed fritillaries. One flew onto the path and perched briefly, another flew up to the oak tree and perched on the trunk of a tree, whilst another perched close to the path and posed nicely for pictures. Small red- eyed damselfly seen by the pond also.
Final destination was Campsea Ash near Wickham Market to look for the famed Willow Emeralds which have spread across from the continent. Before we got to the river Andrew spotted one perched on a leaf around 8 foot up. By the lower tree line on a nearby field several were spotted by Andrew & Rob around 8 to 10 feet up, I initially struggled to see them but when I did I was able to appreciate seeing the spur on the side of the thorax of the Willow Emerald's body, a key distinctive feature to distinguish the species.
We also saw on the river a very pale Red- eyed Damselfly that initially flummuxed us as to its ID and then later by a bridge we saw up to 4 splendid Banded Demoiselles showing well.

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