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.

[Male above]

[Female below]

Also flying at the second site were Golden-ringed Dragonflies (Cordulegaster boltonii) and Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula).

[Golden-ringed Dragonfly]

1 comment:

  1. Lovely pictures! Don't forget to report all Cumbrian sightings to Tullie House Museum, even on protected sites there is very little data (
    I too would be very interested to know where you saw the skimmers in Borrowdale. I have been surveying Cumbrian bogs this year and saw them in about 50% of sites but not in Borrowdale!

    Simon Thomas, Cumbria Wildlife Trust