Wednesday, 14 July 2010
DRAGONFLY: Keeled Skimmers in Cumbria
June 12-July 13, 2010:
Keeled Skimmers (Orthetrum coerulescens) occur at several places in Cumbria where they particularly favour acidic depressions in mires where there are small runnels of slow-moving water. On June 12 at Outley, only a single newly emerged female could be found, the site being otherwise occupied by Four-spotted Chasers (Libellula quadrimaculata). Two weeks later though, things had moved on and there were now large numbers of both male and female Skimmers flying.
In mid-July, at another site much further to the north in Borrowdale, there were also good numbers of Keeled Skimmers. The vegetation here was comparable to that at Outley with much Bog Bean, Bog Asphodel, Heath-spotted Orchid and Sundew. The Keeled Skimmers showed a degree of curiosity hovering within a metre for several seconds as though inspecting the intruder.
[Habitat: slow flowing runnels in acidic mire]
When settled, the deep golden pterostigma on the wings and the pale ante-humeral stripes on the thorax were clearly visible, whilst the prominent black dorsal keel of the female contrasted sharply with its golden abdomen.
Also flying at the second site were Golden-ringed Dragonflies (Cordulegaster boltonii) and Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula).