Shropshire, Jun 2013

My desire to get the cataract in my right eye fixed enforced a stay in the UK during May and June, so we had to forego a planned trip to France hunting orchids and Odos. Making the most of our being stuck was quite easy, though. There were two particular species, both localized and both with main flight times centred on June and early July, that I had yet to see, normally being out of the country at that time. The first of those was the White-faced Darter (Leucorrhinia dubia), whose most southerly breeding colony is to be found at Whixall Moss in Shropshire. I booked us into the Camping and Caravanning Club’s site at Ebury Hill, just north-east of Shrewsbury, in the hope of finding the little darlings.

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Ebury Hill: 7-10 Feb, 2013

J01_2830 Shropshire Downy EmeraldAs luck would have it, a small flooded quarry on the grounds of the campsite itself proved to be the most productive habitat in terms of number of species. Best of all, I had to walk only 100yds/100m to enjoy it. The most exciting find here, which proved to be a new site for the species, was a Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea). Fortunately, I had managed a photograph of Shropshire’s new celebrity to convince the Shropshire recorder that I hadn’t been dreaming. 🙂

Here’s my hit list for Ebury Hill, 6 damselflies and 1 dragonfly:

  • Calopteryx virgo (Beautiful Demoiselle)
  • Coenagrion puella (Azure Damselfly)
  • Enallagma cyathigerum (Common Blue Damselfly)
  • Ischnura elegans (Blue-tailed Damselfly)
  • Pyrrhosoma nymphula (Large Red Damselfly)
  • Erythromma najas (Red-eyed Damselfly)
  • Cordulia aenea (Downy Emerald)

[Actually, I think I saw a Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) whizz across the pond, too, but I wasn’t 100% certain.]

Whixall Moss: 8 Feb, 2013

J01_2857 White-faced DarterI confess that, during my wander round Whixall Moss, so intent was I on searching for my Holy Grail of the White-faced Darter, I quite forgot to compile an exhaustive list of other species encountered “on the moss”. [Note to self: must try harder next time.] Having got that out of the way, suffice to say that we did find the Whitefaced Darter and in quite good numbers, too.

J01_2873 Four-spotted ChaserWith the aid of photographic records, here’s my list of species that I do have recorded, including a particularly neat Four-spotted Chaser rather photogenically positioned:

  • Coenagrion puella (Azure Damselfly)
  • Pyrrhosoma nymphula (Large Red Damselfly)
  • Libellula quadrimaculata (Four-spotted Chaser)
  • Leucorrhinia dubia (White-faced Darter)

Tick off the first of my missing UK species. All in all, a very enjoyable and successful trip.

Posted in 2013, Trip reports, UK

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