I spent the morning on both Saturday and Sunday morning at Nethergong and Grove Ferry where the early morning was spent birding and as the temperature and sun slowly arrived, my attention turned to the dragonflies and damselflies. As well as hopefully finding a few species to see and photograph, my challenge was to try and locate a Black tailed Skimmer exuviae, an exuviae I have yet to find to add to my collection. I spent a few hours on both days in an area where I had seen the adults last year and initially, I could not find anything until parting some reeds, I could see an exuviae which looked like it had a dragonfly emerging. the good news was that it was my target Black tailed Skimmer but unfortunately, its head had failed to emerge and it was already dead. It's always a little sad when after a few years underwater, that the final stage should end so sadly. I continued on looking without nothing when I decided to start again and move through an area slowly checking when I suddenly picked up a newly emerged Black tailed Skimmer which was pumping up its wings. After just sitting down and sighing a relief of finding my target and finally being able to get my hands on an exuviae, I then spent a while taking a few photos before my time was up and I made my way home. I returned again this morning a little earlier and hoped that a few would be emerging and was soon checking the reeds again. The one I had found earlier was c2 metres from the waters edge so I spent some time checking areas a few metres away from the water. After a bit of perseverance, my luck paid off when I found a Black tailed Skimmer which had just started to emerge. I at first thought it was dead but I could then see a bit of movement so with this, I went and got the camera and settled in for the next hour and took a number of photos of the stages of emergence. Every now and then, I went and stretched my legs and checked other area and unbelievably, I could then see an exuviae shining through the reeds c3 metres from the waters edge. Just below the exuviae, I could see a newly emerged Black tailed Skimmer resting up. I carefully the collected the exuviae and went back to my original Skimmer to finish up. I had to be back home soon so I took a few more photos before collecting another exuviae for the collection and made my way back to the car. Other odonata seen this weekend included good numbers of Variable, Azure, Blue tailed and Red eyed Damselfly. I managed to collect a few Red eyed Damselfly exuviae as well as seeing 2 Emperor Dragonfly exuviae, 4 Hairy Dragonfly exuviae with one still emerging and up to 4 Hairy Dragonfly patrolling the ditches. A couple of other teneral Black tailed Skimmers were seen leaving the reeds having no doubt not long emerged. Finally as I neared the car, my first Four Spotted Chaser flew up from the reeds to catch the sunshine. A pleasing couple of sessions and with 2 weeks off work now, I'm hoping to get out a few times if the weather allows to catch up with what's on the wing which should include one of my favourites, the Norfolk Hawkers.
Black tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) Emerging