Sunday, 21 May 2017

A Walk at Westbere May Have Turned Up Gold!

Having been up a few times Friday night in the hope that a Banded Demoiselle nymph would emerge, which it didn't, I decided to make a visit to Westbere Lakes to see what dragonflies and damselflies could be found. The forecast for the morning looked quite good so I drove over at 7.30am and spent just over 3 hours walking around. For the first hour or so, I had to do all the searching as it was still quite early in the day for most of the dragonflies to be flying but a walk through the long grasses produced good number of Variable and Blue tailed Damselflies.

Variable Damselfly (male) 

I took a walk along the river where on a few occasions, I stopped to look for exuviae at the waters edge but despite a good search, I failed to find any this time. By 9am, the sun was warming up quite nicely and damselflies could be seen quite easily which included quite a few Azures and a few Red eyed Damselfly which provided a few photo opportunities.

'teneral' Red eyed Damselfly (male)

As I checked some long grasses, I could see 2 Banded Demoiselle, a male and female sitting close to each other. The male was occasionally flashing his wings to her and provided me with a nice insight into their courtship behaviour. I don't think you can get enough of this species, the colours on them at close range are simple superb as can be seen hopefully in the photos.

Banded Demoiselle (male)

Banded Demoiselle (female)

A single Hairy Dragonfly was flushed from the path never to be seen again and 4 Scarce Chaser were noted at various points but normally just out of reach for a decent shot with the camera. This species continues to diminish at Westbere with numbers being low the past few years but hopefully they will have a good season and do well. With a few species seen and some shots of the day obtained, I made my way back to the car. Last night (Saturday), I again spent a few hours hoping a Banded Demoiselle nymph would emerge but no luck but surely my luck will change soon as i'm not too sure if my lack of sleep can take much more. I just hope I am awake and in position when this happens. Today I made a brief visit to Westbere where the target was to look for dragonfly and damselfly exuviae. The camera was left at home as not to distract me from the job and I spent an hour searching the dykes before the river. I had not been looking long when a Hairy Dragonfly flew by up the dyke which got my attention and as I looked down through the reeds, I was amazed to see a Hawker exuviae on the reeds about 1 metre away. I could clearly see this was no Hairy Dragonfly or Emperor Dragonfly exuviae and my pulse started to quicken with thoughts that it could be a Norfolk Hawker exuviae. I have spent 3 years trying to find one of these and along with photographing a Banded Demoiselle emerging, this was a target for the year. I took a few photos of it in position before carefully removing it which was not that easy leaning out over the dyke. My session ended abruptly there believe it or not and I returned home to check my possible gold prize. I studied it through the 10X hand lens and it seemed to fit the criteria needed (I will go into more of this next time if I am correct) but to make sure, I have shared a few photos on Twitter and await confirmation. I will hopefully provide an update during the week on this along with any Demoiselle emerging happenings.


  1. Wow, Marc, I hope that you're right about the Norfolk Hawker. What a prize that would be!

    I love your Banded Demoiselle images. I used to consider the male the most spectacular, but I've recently decided that the female is as delightful as, if not more so, than the male.

    Never seen a Variable Damselfly, and Red-eyed is on my hit list for this year. Your images are wonderful.

    Best wishes - - - Richard

    1. Many thanks Richard for your visit and comment. I really hope I'm. right, it would be amazing to have finally found one. Like you, I absolutely love Banded Demoiselles. The male in my book is just out of this world in colours.

  2. Very nice Marc. The female is particularly good. Be good to know that the Norfolk is starting to fly (hopefully)!!

    1. Many thanks Bob. Exuviae confirmed tonight as a NORFOLK HAWKER. Whoop, whoop!! Will post some photos in the week.