11 Jul 2014

11 July 14 - Ruddy Darter At Higher Hyde

After a great morning with my mate Brian Field looking at Dragonflies at Arne and finding a Red-veined Darter, there was still plenty of other things to look for. Brian had never seen Sand Lizards, so we headed for the DWT Higher Hyde reserve. On my first visit here, I had seen a sunbathing male Sand Lizard along with a couple of less showy females. But that had been a warm, but overcast, morning in early June. It was now midday on a warm & sunny day in mid July & they wouldn't need to find a black tyre to warm up on. So we were going to need some luck to see them while out hunting. We tried anyway, but only succeeded in Brian getting a couple of fleeting views of Lizards dashing into vegetation. More reason for him to come back to the Dorset in the future. But the Dragonfly bonanza continued with species 13 for the day: Ruddy Darter.
Ruddy Darter: Note, the deep red abdomen, ruddy-brown thorax, black legs & dark pterostigma. These features separate Ruddy Darters from the Red-veined Darters & Common Darters (see last Post). The males also have a distinctive pinched base to the abdomen
If we didn't have other things that Brian wanted to look for, it would have been interesting to see how many species we could have seen, given there are Scarce Chasers, Broad-bodied Chasers, Black-tailed Skimmers, Banded Demoiselles, Common Blue Damselflies & White-legged Damselflies easily found locally. Might have taken a bit more searching, but Golden-ringed Dragonflies, Beautiful Demoiselles & Southern Damselflies should be in the local area at the moment & Black Darter should just be starting to fly. So potentially it should be possible to see over 80% of the Dorset Dragonflies locally in a day. I can see I'm setting myself a challenge for another day.
Silver-washed Fritillary: Female. Good to see a few here
Small Skipper: It is just possible to see the edge to the orange undersides of the antennae
Small Skipper: A few more shots taken earlier in the morning at Arne
Small Skipper: A clear shot of the orange underside of the antennae of the Arne individual
Small Skipper: An upperwing shot from St Aldhelms in the afternoon, along with a Soldier Beetle