With some warm sunshine and light winds predicted for today, the challenge today was to simply get a better image if possible of the Willow Emerald Damselfly ovipositing into stinging nettle stems at Nethergong. After some correspondence with a few people, it would seem that my findings do constitute a first for the UK and with some help from other enthusiasts on the UK Dragonflies Forum, it appears from research that c60 species of plant and tree have been used by Willow Emerald Damselfly to oviposit in, but most interestingly, no mention at all of stinging nettle stems being used. I arrived at Nethergong at 9.45am in already warm sunshine where I spent the next four hours in the area where the Willow Emerald Damselflies have been seen. An initial check of the stream produced no sightings at all but checking one of the sunny rides, I found c15 resting up, mostly females with the odd male present. My last few visits have seen them appear at the stream early afternoon in tandem so with an hour or so to spare, I took a walk around where I found a few Migrant Hawker where a few flights shots were had, 4 Brown Hawker, 1 Southern Hawker, 1 Azure Damselfly and c10 Emerald Damselfly. After having a spot of lunch and drink, I spent the next few hours at the stream where I observed c25 Willow Emerald Damselfly, many in tandem and again ovipositing into the stinging nettle stems. I spent quite a while just watching them through the binoculars where the pattern seemed to be that they would lay 1 or 2 eggs and then be whisked off by the males to the next stem. This continued with the other pairs and after finding a good spot, I sat on the edge of the stream and awaited their arrival at the nettles. Most of the time they would be on the far side of the stream and this meant I had to use the 1.4 converter on the Canon f4 300mm lens which I really don't like for dragonflies but it did give me a little extra reach. For a lot of the time, they would go quite deep into the nettles where various parts of them were hidden by leaves but occasionally I could get a good view where at last, I managed to get a few nice shots of them ovipositing into the stinging nettle stems which can be seen clearly. With some shots in the bag, I called it a day and made my way back to the car. An excellent session with some better shots of what may be new information on where Willow Emerald Damselflies lay their eggs.
Willow Emerald Damselfly Ovipositing into Stinging Nettle Stems
Willow Emerald Damselfly (tandem pair)
Stream showing overhanging Stinging Nettles