This prolonged spell of warm and dry weather has really spurred the butterflies and dragonflies into action, and they are making up for lost time due to the very prolonged winter and late Spring. Our meadows are full of brown butterflies – we have literally hundreds of ringlets and meadow browns on the wing at the moment, along with some small tortoiseshell, small heath, common blue, brown argus, small skipper and large skipper. The skippers, in particular, are congregating by the ponds to drink. It is really lovely to see these little butterflies on the wing. They are joined by six-spot burnet moths in numbers I haven’t seen for a long time. Speckled wood are also present in large numbers inside the wood, and I’m waiting to see the first purple hairstreaks of the year.
The ponds are starting to draw down due to the dry weather, some areas drying out completely – we are letting them do this, as temporary pond habitats are very valuable. Over the ponds are large numbers of four-spotted chaser dragonflies, broad-bodied chasers, southern hawkers, and the first common darters. In the trees are the brown hawkers and best of all are the wonderful emperor dragonflies – today I spotted a female laying her eggs in one of our ponds. We also have blue-tailed, azure, common blue, large red, banded demoiselle damselflies on the wing at the moment and I’m looking out for the white-legged damselflies and emerald damselflies which tend to emerge a bit later. There is frenzied activity over the ponds as the dragonflies and damselflies jostle for territory and prime egg-laying sites.
After such a difficult summer in 2012, and such a cold and prolonged winter, it is wonderful so see so many of these insects on the wing. There are obviously enough to provide food for large numbers of swifts and swallows, as well as our resident hobby, and at night, plenty of food for the bats too.
I’ve managed to snap a few pictures – hope you enjoy them!