With a number of Downy Emeralds starting to emerge at Thursley Common during the week, I hatched a plan to make a visit over the weekend to see if I could find and photograph them and hopefully collect an exuviae of the species to add to my collection. I think I have only two photos of a Downy Emerald, one in flight and the other quite high up in a tree so I was keen to address this issue. The weather this morning promised early sunshine and then clouding over but hardly any wind and having read a bit about them, it seemed that they would still be emerging if it clouded over. I was up at 4am and after getting ready I left home at 4.30am and ninety minutes later, I pulled up not surprisingly in an empty car park. I had a bit of drink and some breakfast and with the sun now shining through, I made my way to the Moat. I had an idea where they would be emerging and entering this area, I straight away could see an exuviae. A quick check confirmed it was indeed a Downy Emerald exuviae, the first I have seen and a bonus for my collection. I was happy with one but little did I know that I was to find c60 Downy Emerald exuviae over about 20 metres, amazing. I'm sure there were many more as well that went unnoticed. Not long after I had started checking I soon found the first of 5 newly emerged Downy Emerald and I was able to at last, spend some time studying them and their superb colouring. I have seen photos from others in the past showing some lovely rainbow colours not long after emergence on the head and thorax and it was great to take a number of photos showing these colours off well.
Downy Emerald (teneral male)
As I continued to search throughout the morning, I soon started to find Downy Emeralds emerging, 5 in total that I could see but no doubt others that I missed. I did manage to photograph most of an emergence which I shall post in due coarse but there chosen sights were quite tricky to photograph from. This has to be one of my best ever sessions, both from a photography point of view and the experience. With a number of pleasing images obtained and plenty of time studying this lovely dragonfly, I made my way back to the car around 11.45am... along with c20 exuviae which I had collected. No doubt I will photo these soon for another post. I also saw a number of Large Red Damselfly which rounded off an excellent trip. More to come from Thursley during the week.
Downy Emerald (teneral female)