The day wasn’t promising, a gray blanket of cloud was the best that the morning could offer with temperatures more akin to March than July. As the cloud broke so the showers started, heavy drenching showers with the slightest glimmer of sunshine between. None of this is great for spotting dragonflies and damselflies but a brief burst of sun meant it seemed worth a quick trip out; part of a survey to see what species are found at Throckley Pond. Sadly the fresh breeze also reduced the activity around the water although once you got your ‘eye in’ the resting damselflies were relatively easy to identify as they held firmly to pondside vegetation. And it was all damselflies today, no sign of their bigger dragonfly cousins.
First to be seen were the small dark damselflies with an almost glowing blue thin stripe on the end of the abdomen, these blue-tailed damselflies (Ischnura elegans) proved to be pretty common around the water’s edge along with the much brighter blue azure (Coenagrion lunulatum). In sheltered spots males battled over unseen territories while the females were somewhat less conspicuous or daring in the challenging conditions. Much less common, and at the beginning of their flight season, were a few emerald damselflies (Lestes sponsa) with their almost iridescent green backs over more cream coloured flanks, only four were spotted but numbers should rise in the coming days.
The site was oddly lacking in butterflies around the flowery margins and sheltered banks of the pond. The lack of the almost ubiquitous speckled wood was unexpected and the newly emerged ringlets were also strangely absent. In fact the only butterfly of the day was a large skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) that settled on a tiny piece of willowherb by the path as we left the site.