Friday, 6 September 2019

Hull Dragons: August summary


The dragonfly season has been in full swing, particularly during the very warm Bank Holiday weekend. Thirteen species and a total of 130 records from 23 km squares have been submitted so far to iRecord during August. Seven recorders have contributed to these records. During the last part of the month a number of species were still on the wing, although the records were dominated by Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers, two late, abundant and obvious species that also roam away from water. Both species add squares to the survey that don't necessarily hold breeding sites.
  Choosing highlights hasn't been easy, but these are some.
 Small Red-eyed Damselfly
To the thriving population at East Park we added Pickering park as a new site for the species, where many individuals and ovipositing was confirmed. A few other scattered records are evidence of the rapid range expansion of this species.
Migrant Hawker
A great year for Migrant Hawkers. They have been plentiful, with almost 50 records submitted to iRecord to 6th of September, compared to 18 last year. More excitingly, breeding evidence was obtained, with multiple patrolling males on several potential breeding sites with mating pairs at Pickering Park, Foredyke Stream, Beverley and Barmston Drain, and oviposition observed at Foredyke Stream.
Southern Hawker
A total of 22 records have been submitted for this species this year, compared to 4 last year. The Southern Hawker (top shot and above) is a recent colonist that has only been in the recording area since 2007, but is now well established, with records from 12 sites and evidence of breeding (oviposition and emergence) in several of them.
Male Black Darter near St Andrews Quay, 2012. Photo by Barry Warrington, used with permission.
Black Darter
A record of a male was submitted by Barry Warrington of this rare darter on the East side of the Yorkshire Wolds. This is a notable record as there are only a handful of records in the area, the first one from 2011 at Priory Fields, the second from the Beverley and Barmston Drain in 2013. Barry has found Black Darters in the same area, near St Andrews Quay, in 2012 (above) and 2016. Records of this species probably represent dispersing individuals, as the species breeds on boggy, moorland or heath ponds not present in our recording area.

List of species recorded in August
  1. Migrant Hawker.
  2. Southern Hawker.
  3. Brown Hawker.
  4. Common Darter
  5. Emperor Dragonfly.
  6. Common Blue
  7. Blue-tailed Damselfly.
  8. Small Red-eyed.
  9. Red-Eyed Damselfly.
  10. Azure Damselfly
  11. Ruddy Darter.
  12. Emerald. Foredyke Green.
  13. Black Darter.
In the wider area: Willow Emerald expansion
Emerald Damselfly. Mature male.
Willow Emerald male. Note lack of blue 'pruinescence', pale pterostigma with black margins and pale abdominal appendages. On side view a spur on the thorax is distinctive. Note eyes are not blue. 

Records of Willow Emerald Damselfly from Lincolnshire and a record from North Yorkshire means that there is a possibility this rapidly expanding species may make it into Hull in the near future. Fortunately, it is a late flying species, active until October, so it is worth while keeping an eye for it. The photo above was taken in a London park during the bank holiday weekend.

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