Thursday, 21 June 2012

Scarce Chasers on the River Avon

June 20, 2012:
Today, on a slow-flowing section of the river downstream from Pershore there was much dragonfly activity whenever the sun came out. The speciality here is the Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva) and at least four males were seen, sometimes patrolling low over the water but mostly perched territorially in riverside vegetation.

Also present were many White-legged and Red-eyed Damselflies, the latter resting out on the floating lily-pads. Many Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies were also in evidence and a profusion of Banded Demoiselles flitted along the river bank, a female of which was seen feeding on a mayfly.

River Avon at the site

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Grizzled Skipper in north-east Wales

June 6, 2012:
The Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) reaches its natural northern British limit in north-east Wales where a very small population near Wrexham is probably the most northerly of all. This rather unlikely locality comprises a small area of neutral grassland on a ‘brown field’ site adjacent to an industrial estate. It is no larger than a football field and is where in the past the Grizzled Skipper has been occasionally recorded in very small numbers.

Today, in far from ideal overcast conditions with spotting rain, a newly emerged skipper was flying with several Small Heaths and a few Common Blues. Unfortunately the grass here is now becoming long and rank and unless controlled it may lead to the eradication of the butterfly as its larval food plant, Wild Strawberry, will be unable to compete with the excessive growth.

Small Heath

The nearby industrial site

Small grassland area where the Skipper occurs