Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Keeled Skimmers of Kent

Its been a good few years since I last visited Hothfield Common near Ashford to see Kent's only site for the Keeled Skimmer so after a message from my odo friend, Mike Hook who had seen a few there, I decided to give it a go last weekend when the forecast seemed pretty good. I arrived on site about 10am where I was greeted with very warm sunshine but quite breezy conditions. I walked on down to the area which has a wooden boardwalk going out through the bog and spent the next 2 hours searching the bog and nearby bushes. It was initially quite tricky to see much as the breeze was quite strong but eventually, I got my eye in and saw up to 12 Keeled Skimmer flying out over the water and a few tenerals were noted in the nearby grasses and bushes. I only saw one female briefly ovipositing before a male arrived and she flew off out of sight. Its east to forget how small this species is but I was able to spent some time studying their features and taking a number of photos as they posed in the sunshine. With a few photos obtained, I put the camera down and spent a while searching the waters edge for any exuviae. I do not have any of this species and was not expecting to find any but after a good search, I finally managed to see one and carefully removed for my collection, a right result which I shall photograph in due coarse. Other bits seen included 1 Banded Demoiselle, 1 Emperor Dragonfly, 1 probable Broad bodied Chaser and a few Azure and Large Red Damselfly noted. A lovely few hours spent at this excellent site which I hope continues to manage the area for the Keeled Skimmer and other species.

Keeled Skimmer (male) 


Keeled Skimmer (immature male) 





Keeled Skimmer (male) 

Keeled Skimmer (immature male)

10 comments:

  1. A wonderful species Marc. We have a good colony or 2 on Ashdown Forest where I'm hoping to catch up with soon.

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    1. A super little species to observe. Good luck with your search.

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  2. Wow and Wow again these are exquisite captures.
    John.

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    1. Many thanks John, much appreciated. Nice to be able to study these up close.

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  3. Keeled Skimmer, beautiful images Marc.

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    1. Many thanks Bob. Much appreciated.

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  4. Congrats on having your picture shown on Springwatch last night(Tuesday). Lovely one it is too.

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    1. Many thanks Ken. A very nice surprise and nice to spread the word on dragonflies and damselflies. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  5. Some fine images Marc glad you got to see them. Well done on finding exuviae not easy.

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    1. Many thanks Mike. Cheers for the heads up on them. The exuviae was pretty hard to find. A lot of time just staring into grasses but a result though. Will get round to photographing it at some point.

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