Drakelow sighting report by Thomas Cockburn

The highlight, without doubt, was the finding of a Hairy Dragonfly.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Saturday 9th June 0730 – 1715. The day was ear-marked for the recording of Odonata and Lepidoptera but with the weather dictating terms the recording had to wait until the afternoon when the sun finally manage to break through. LEPIDOPTERA: By the end of the visit only seven species had made the list. Leading the way was the Small Heath, a B.A.P. species, with 16 insects counted in one area and two in another. The other B.A.P species, Dingy Skipper, went unrecorded as the main site was visited during overcast conditions. The Common Blue registered some 12 hits with eight Meadow Browns the next best. The Speckled Wood managed five with three Large Skippers and three Green-veined Whites bringing up the rear with a solitary Peacock the last to be noted. Cinnabar, Silver ‘Y’, Burnet Companion and Small Magpie represented the moths on show. ODONATA: The highlight, without doubt, was the finding of a Hairy Dragonfly at the Bamboo Pool, the same water where the Lesser Emperor appeared two years ago. This ‘hawker’ species has, over the years, been suspected but only glimpses of a ‘hawker’ in May were all that was achieved. This year a ‘hawker’ was noted in early May and was patrolling along the reeds in the secondary lagoon but the poor light and distance from the bank conspired to frustrate identification although it was clearly a small ‘hawker’ type. This time, however, in good light the beastie was clearly a Hairy Hawker that was behaving territorially inasmuch as it was chasing Four-spotted Chasers that came anywhere near it. It did not seem interested in the myriads of Common Blue Damselflies that were swarming over the water and hanging on the reed stems nor did it ever land. Other, lesser mortals were Blue-tailed Damsels that were showing a variety of thorax colours of violets, greens and reds and the Banded Demoiselles appear to have reached plague proportions rising in clouds from every blade of grass and bush. Several male Black-tailed Skimmers have now attained their adult form and the Red-eyed Damsels were attempting to cover every lily-pad in the fish pond. It makes one wonder what might be found on a good summer's day?