One of the Society’s members has identified the first known sighting of the Willow Emerald Damselfly in Buckinghamshire.
In Harry’s own words:
Over the past few years I have spent much of my free time photographing dragonflies and damselflies around the ponds and brook in Tattenhoe. While I was walking past a small tree by one of the balancing ponds last week, a female Emerald flew up in front of me, shortly before landing on a branch nearby.
Having only seen the Common Emerald (Lestes sponsa) at this site in the past, I couldn’t help but notice that her eyes and thorax looked different to the others I normally see, so I took a few pictures and after looking in my odonata books and sending the image to one of my contacts on Flickr, I found out that it was a female Willow Emerald.
Since then I have visited that particular pond several times and have found at least three specimens, 2 males and 1 female, which have been regularly basking and feeding around a small goat willow tree by the water, usually from midday onwards.
On closer inspection of the tree I first saw the female on, I also believe I may have found their trademark galls, scars they leave on the branches from ovipositing. According to members of the British Dragonfly Society, this is the most westerly point at which this species has been recorded so far. This year and last year were notably good for this species, helping it to increase its range. It has also recently been recorded in Bedfordshire for the first time.
Harry has provided an update with even more good news about the Willow Emerald and a photograph of the Damselfly laying her eggs:
Between approximately 2.30 and 3.30pm on 4th October 2016 I photographed a female laying eggs (ovipositing) on the branches on one of the small trees overhanging the water.
Text by Harry Appleyard
All pictures were taken by Harry Appleyard
Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.