We have been having some very unseasonal warm weather of late and yesterday was no different with cloudless skies, no wind and temperatures reaching 18 degrees celsius. I was dropped off at Nethergong at midday where I spent three and a half hours walking around the site checking all the likely areas for dragonflies. In the beautiful warm sunshine, I managed to find and excellent total of 61 Willow Emerald Damselfly which somewhat surprised me. They seemed to be everywhere and no doubt others were missed. Pairs were seen in tandem along the stream, ovipositing in various areas whilst males perched along the stream waiting for females to pass. Whilst I expected to see quite a few, to see so many late on in the season was surprising but I expect the warmer weather of late has helped somewhat. Hopefully they may continue for a few weeks yet if the weather allows but it seems the temperature is starting to fall away during the next week. As I walked around, I managed to see c50 Common Darter. Quite a few males were resting on the exposed warm dry mud whilst others were seen either mating, in tandem or ovipositing. I did manage at one point to lay on my stomach and slowly creep up on a mating pair which allowed quite a close approach where a few photos were obtained.
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) - mating pair
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) - female clasping on to male abdomen
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) - male
It was nice to see 3 Migrant Hawkers still on the wing. A couple of active males flying around whilst another male just wanted to enjoy the heat of the sunshine. This allowed me to take a number of images of this species which hopefully won't be my last encounter with them this year. With a week off work this week, I'm hoping for a few sunny days so I can make a visit or two to see how the different species are fairing as we head towards November.
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) - male