Sunday, 3 July 2011

White-faced Darters (Leucorrhinia dubia) in Cumbria

July 2, 2011:
At a large raised peat bog in north Cumbria eight species of Odonata were seen today. These included White-faced Darters for which the site is well-known. There were at least twelve individuals flying over and around three adjacent small flooded peat cuttings. They were mostly males although at least one tandem pair was seen.

Even though the weather was very warm, immediately the sun went behind the clouds all activity ceased but resumed as soon as it reappeared. The Darters rarely strayed more than a few metres from the pools but would occasionally make short forays into the surrounding heather to perch. One or two seemed to have favourite perches and would also fly close to investigate what they presumably thought to be an intruder. A temporarily discarded blue pullover also appealed to one individual as a perch.

[Darter on blue pullover]

Other species seen here included Four-spotted Chasers, an Emperor, and five species of Damselfly: Common Blue, Azure, Blue-tailed, Large Red and Emerald. Large Heath butterflies were flying in the surrounding raised bog.

[Pair of Large Red Damselflies]

[One of the small flooded peat cuttings]

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