With the forecast looking quite sunny this morning and only a few hours available to go out until we went out as a family I decided to visit a private site south of Reculver and see if I could find any exuvia or larval cases of dragonflies and damselflies. Armed with my daughters pond net in lemon yellow and a few trays and wellington boots I left home at 6.30am where a minute or two later I arrived. The sun was already shining and as I walked down the path Common Darters were already rising from the bushes. I set about walking a few metres into the water and checking the various clumps of reeds and was soon finding what I think were Common Darter exuvia. I collected a few which I will photograph and post in a few days. Walking on there were lots of Common Blue and Blue tailed Damselfly and a few Emerald Damselfly rising from the reeds but a check of a few clumps of reeds produced some much bigger exuvia which provided a nice photo challenge.
Migrant Hawker Exuvia
I thought at first they were going to be Emperor exuvia but they were a lot smaller and measuring them on arriving home revealed they were between 30 and 35mm in length. I found 6 of them in a small area and after checking some dragonfly books and photos and based on their length, believe they are probably Migrant Hawker exuvia, although please correct me if I have got this wrong. I am yet to see a Migrant Hawker at this site this year but suspect they emerge at night and move off once dried out. I will hopefully have a look for some more in the next few days.
Migrant Hawker Exuvia (side view)
Migrant Hawker Exuvia (underside)
After collecting a few I took to the water with a net for a bit of dipping. I obviously need to brush up on this for I only managed to catch 1 probable Common Darter larvae, again I will post some shots later in the week of this. I will try a few more areas in the coming weeks for some dipping as I'm sure I can catch something quite nice to study and photograph. The last bit of the session was a quick wander around the area where I saw a few Black tailed Skimmer, 1 Small Red eyed Damselfly, lots of Common Darter, 1 Ruddy Darter, 1 Emperor Dragonfly and 1 Four spotted Chaser. The family are off the to the beach tomorrow with friends giving me a few hours out from around 11am. I may well pop back down to Nethergong for some pond dipping and see also if I can cross paths with the Brown Hawker!
Migrant Hawker Exuvia (top side)