Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Emerald Damselfly.

A wander through the dense grassy scrub behind the Great Pond this morning produced a few sightings of the dainty and attractive Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa). It was quite a challenge to accurately focus on any individual perched deep amongst the grasses with an immature male (above) being the first subject. 

Next was an an immature female.

After a bit of a search I finally located the more colourful male.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Small Copper.

Encountering the delightful Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) always lifts the spirits.

This species thrives in hot, sunny conditions, usually in small, discrete colonies and whilst considered common it has has suffered substantial declines over the last century due to habitat loss, but relatively poor weather in recent years may also be aggravating this decline. Last year our dry spring was followed by the coldest and wettest summer for three years and the Small Copper suffered its worst year on record with numbers falling a quarter compared to 2014.

I didn't see any of the spring brood and only two individuals when these images were taken on 23 July this year. If the right conditions prevail there might be a third brood and possibly a fourth partial brood into November.

Linking to:
Nature Notes

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Landscape Enhancement.

For as far back as I can remember; that is from the late 1960's; the heathland landscape at Thursley NNR was dominated by 11 metal pylons carrying thirty three thousand volt overhead power lines plus twice as many wooden electricity poles carrying eleven thousand volts.

From my perspective they never detracted from the wealth of wildlife seen here over many years. The metal structures, all individually numbered, provided perching places for many bird species and sighting records often mentioned the pylon number as an aid to finding a particular bird for local and visiting birders.

The views have now dramatically changed.

After a two year-long £400,000 project funded by a special allowance granted by industry regulator Ofgem, completed last November, involving Natural England, Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) over three kilometres of overhead power lines have now been placed underground, with the intention of restoring and enhancing Surrey’s rare, historic heathland landscape and re-creating a sense of partial wilderness rarely found in South East England.

During my most recent visit I noticed that a sculpture has been erected, paying homage to Pylon 36, and when completed will feature a dragonfly perched on top of the structure. I'll have to wait and see which species they decide on.

Throughout the project I understand that every effort was made to avoid areas used by rare nesting birds such as Woodlark and Dartford Warbler and to protect the Reserve’s varied habitats. Here are just some of the wildlife species I encountered during the past week.


A male Keeled Skimmer.

A juvenile Green Woodpecker.

Common Lizard.

Common Darter.
A male Black Darter.

Other bird species seen included Woodlark, Dartford Warbler, Common Redstart, Goldfinch, Swift, Swallow and Kestrel. Butterfly species recorded were Large White, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Comma, Gatekeeper and Small Copper. The Reserve is well known for the abundance of Odonata and apart from the three images above I also saw Emerald, Blue-tailed together with Small and Large Red Damselflies plus a few other dragonfly species, namely Emperor, Four-spotted Chaser and Ruddy Darter. (Some of these varied species will feature in future posts both here and on my photo blog.)  

A location I will never tire of visiting at any time of the year for its varied wildlife. FAB.

Linking to:
Saturday's Critters 


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