Header image (while this post is current) - female Banded Demoiselle at Sence Valley Forest Park on 5th June, 2023
I was quite busy with my seeking the local Odonata in early June, but was also observing the goings-on in our garden. Here are some of my findings.
Thursday, 1st June Our Garden
This was a busy day for medical visits, with me taking Lindsay for a physiotherapy session in the morning, and then me having to go for an eye injection in the afternoon. These appointments took up most of the day, but I was able to see just about well enought to take a shot of this Bullfinch visiting the garden after my return from my eye appointment.
|Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (male) - our garden|
I had to take Lindsay for a mid-day appointment with her surgeon on the other side of Leicester. Fortunately the appointment was a relatively short one and I managed to get out mid-afternoon. Under strict instructions to take it easy for a couple of days after my eye injection, I took a gentle stroll at a location that I'd been informed of recently. This was a section of a local countrified walking route, which goes under the name of The Ivanhoe Way.
I wandered the route for a way, until I came to a section which ran through a rather uninteresting field, and then turned back. I was three quarters of the way back to my starting point before I started seeing a few damselflies.
|Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) (male) - The Ivanhoe Way|
|Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) (male) - The Ivanhoe Way|
|Emperor (Anax imperator) (female) - The Ivanhoe Way|
|Emperor (Anax imperator) (female) - The Ivanhoe Way|
It was an exciting end to the short visit, but I felt that I was ready for more, so set off on the short journey to Saltersford Valley Country Park.
I didn't find any photographable dragonflies there, but there were a few obliging damselflies waiting for me. This first one is a female Blue-tailed Damselfly of f. violacea, which will either mature into into the andromorph blue form or into f. infuscans - greenish, with brownish thorax and segment 8 of the abdomen.
|Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) (female f. violacea) - Saltersford Valley CP|
|Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) (male) - Saltersford Valley CP|
This year, Banded Demoiselle have not been as easy to find at this location as they have been in previous years, although they seem to have done well enough at other local locations.
I include a video clip showing that wonderful flashing wing display.
|Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) (male) - Saltersford Valley CP|
|Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) (male+female) - Saltersford Valley CP|
I have occasionally been amused by shots of Large Red Damselfly with just the eyes showing either side of a leaf, and even attempted such shots myself. I couldn't resist taking this one of a Red-eyed Damselfly trying to get in on the action too.
|Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) (male) - Saltersford Valley CP|
|Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) - Saltersford Valley CP|
|Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) (female) - our garden|
Donisthorpe is a parish just 3 miles (5 km) from our home. Two years ago, a Community Interest Company (a CIC has a legal standing) was set up to take control of an area of unregistered land to convert it to a wildlife area for the benfit of the community. It will then pass into full ownership of the CIC if not legally claimed by anyone inside ten years.
I was invited by one of the committee to visit this plot of land on this day for a guided visit, with a view to becoming a member of the group. This I did, and am now a fully paid up member!
Here are some of the things that I observed during this visit.
Not far from the entrance was a specimen of Fox and Cubs, which is one of my favourite wild flowers with its amazing colours.
|Fox and Cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca) - Donisthorpe CIC Land|
|False blister beetle (Oedemera lurida) on Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) - Donisthorpe CIC Land|
|Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus) - Donisthorpe CIC Land|
|Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (immature male) - Donisthorpe CIC Land|
|Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (male) - Donisthorpe CIC Land|
|Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) - Donisthorpe CIC Land|
|Lacewing (Chrysopa perla) - Donisthorpe CIC Land|
|Marsh Orchid sp. (Dactylorhiza sp.) - Donisthorpe CIC Land|
| Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) - Donisthorpe CIC Land|
When writing this piece I felt it strange to be referring to the plot as 'Donisthorpe CIC Land' so I enquired as to whether the plot had a recognised name - I got the following response "Other than Donisthorpe CIC no it hasn’t. Perhaps we should come up with names ready for the AGM in September and vote on the suggestions". I have already put in a suggestion. Watch this space!
Sunday, 4th June Our Garden
Garlic Mustard is a rather invasive plant, but I try to let a few plants grow each year because it is favoured as a food plant by the larvae of the Orange-tip butterfly. Here is one that I took some shots of this day - it is a quite small caterpillar.
|Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) (larva) - our garden|
As it was my birthday, Lindsay bravely offered to accompany me on a short walk at Sence Valley Forest Park. This is an ideal place for Lindsay to enjoy a gentle walk in natural surroundings as there are benches to sit on every couple of hundred metres. It is a pity that it is not a little closer to home, although only 7 miles (11 km) away.
We spent a while at the stone bridge over the River Sence. Here, there were Banded Demoiselle, with only females being photographable.
|Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) (female) - Sence Valley FP|
|Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) - Sence Valley FP|
|Green Drake Mayfly (Ephemera danica) - Sence Valley FP|
I went down to stream level beside the bridge to look for dragonflies. This swan family came into view from further upstream.
|Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) - Sence Valley FP|
|soldier beetle (Cantharis nigricans) - Sence Valley FP|
This day was really special as it yielded my first ever sighting of a Lime Hawk-moth - and it was in our garden! To my mind, this large moth ranks as one of the most beautiful of the Hawk-moths.
|Lime Hawk-moth (Mimas tiliae) (male) - our garden|
That happy note brings me to the end of this installment of my catchup series. If all goes according to plan, my next post will feature the following week and will also be a quite long one!
In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and Nature.
Thank you for dropping by - - - Richard