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Friday, 10 August 2018

Heather Lake - on Friday 6th July, 2018

Heather (pronounced 'he- ther') Lake is only 6 miles (10km) from my home and can be very good for dragonflies. It's a short walk (450 metres) over level ground from where I park the car to the lake itself, so ideal for a quick, and undemanding, trip out. This was one such visit, with me setting off from home at around 10h00 and being back again by 12h30 for lunch.

On my walk to the lake there were many Ringlet butterflies around, but I resisted the temptation to spend any significant time with them. 

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus) - near Heather Lake
Some Little Grebes were on the lake, and later I saw their juveniles, but a couple let their dogs out into the water which scared the juveniles off before I could get any photos. 

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) - Heather Lake
Common Blue Damselflies were in good numbers, but weren't my target species.

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (male) - Heather Lake
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (male + female in tandem) - Heather Lake
Blue-tailed Damselfly were also much in evidence and seemed intent on maintaining the population levels! The first image of a mating pair, below, shows (I think) a somewhat immature male with a female  of f. rufescens. The second looks to me as if it is a mature male with an immature andromorph female - comments welcome!

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) (male) - Heather Lake

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) (male + female 'in cop') - Heather Lake
I was hoping to see Large Red Damselfly, but all the ones I saw were freshly emerged - I'd obviously arrived a bit late! 

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) (teneral female) - Heather Lake
I was disappointed that there were few dragonflies about. There were a few Ruddy Darters, and I attempted some flight shots - and failed! Four-spotted Chasers are usually very much in evidence here, and perched on sticks - there were few sticks for them to perch on this year, and even fewer 4-spots, and I think I only saw three. One of them looked very battle-worn.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (male) - Heather Lake
The star performers at Heather Lake, however, are the Emperor dragonflies. They are usually here in good numbers. I didn't count but suspect that there were at least 10 present that day.

I was able to get some shots of a pair mating.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (male + female 'in cop') - Heather Lake
Later in the morning, there was much ovipositing activity by the females. Some were in the blue state, rather than their more usual green - apparently brought on by high temperatures.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (female - ovipositing) - Heather Lake
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of this visit was getting some flight shots of a male Emperor.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (male) - Heather Lake
Whilst walking round the lake I'd seen several Emperor exuviae, and I managed to collect three (1 male, 2 female) to bring home.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (exuvia - male) - Heather Lake

Emperor (Anax imperator) (exuvia - female) - Heather Lake
It had been a very worthwhile short trip out.

Thank you for dropping by. I think my next post might feature some owls!