Posts Tagged ‘Small Tortoiseshell’

The Small Tortoiseshell is one of the UK’s commonest garden butterflies. It may hibernate over winter and so is one of the species that can be seen on warm days throughout the year.

It is found across a wide geographic area stretching from Western Europe to China and Japan. There are even a few records from New York but this may have been deliberately released there.

Strumpshaw Fen

Strumpshaw Fen

The final day of our trip to Norfolk and our final destination is Strumpshaw fen RSPB reserve. I am still hoping to get that elusive photograph of Swallowtail Butterfly and this reserve is one of their strongholds in the UK.

Strumpshaw Fen

Strumpshaw Fen

As we made our way along the trail, I did get to take some photographs of a butterfly species that I haven’t managed to capture before, but it was not Swallowtail. Instead it was a lovely White Admiral which briefly posed for us before flying off

White Admiral

White Admiral

White Admiral

White Admiral

Other highlights included Norfolk Hawker dragonfly and an Emperor Dragonfly as well as a number of different species of butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoieshell

Small Tortoieshell

 

Azure Damselfly

Azure Damselfly

We eventually made it to the hide and decided to settle ourselves down as an Otter had been seen earlier using the waterway which passes in front. we di see Grey Heron and Little Egret but alas no sighting of Otter.

Little Egret

Little Egret

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

And what you may ask about the Swallowtail’s – yes we saw a number. No I didnt get to photograph them. Oh well there is always next year!

 

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
White Admiral (Limenitis camilla)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Norfolk Hawker (Anaciaeschan isosceles)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)

After the morning walk along Darland Bank NR (see yesterdays post) Keith and I walked down to the estuary of the River Medway at Riverside CP.

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Approaching the river through Eastcourt meadows, we were delighted by the number of Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies that could be seen.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

 

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

We reached the estuary and apart from some Oystercatchers it was very quiet.

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We also visited Sharp’s Green Pond where there were Moorhen nesting.  Common Blue Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly were also present.

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Blue-tailed Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

 

Moorhen nesting

Moorhen nesting

 

Woodpigeon

Woodpigeon

 

Day list 19/6/15

Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Lesser Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia curruca)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Marbled White [sp] (Melanargia galathea)

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)

Medway Valley

Medway Valley

A bright sunny day saw Keith and I heading off for New Hythe and Leybourne Lakes, which are situated in the Medway valley in Kent. Formally gravel and sand extraction pits they now form a large area of lake and scrub habitat. It is a good place for waterbirds in the winter, but the object of our visit was the healthy colony of Common Nightingales that breed here plus any other summer visitors. Despite its name, the Common Nightingale is a species which is becoming more restricted in distribution as its range seems to be contracting and the UK is on the north-western edge of that range. It is now only found at a few sites in SE England.

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It did not take long before we had found one of our targets as a Sedge Warbler entertained us with its scratchy song from the reedbed on Brooklands lake. Continuing our way along the eastern shore we heard the call of a Mediterranean Gull although we failed to locate the bird. This may have been because our attention was focused on the first Nightingale of the day, singing stridently from within the cover. This is the best time to locate them as when they first arrive on site they are more active, vocal and visible and later in the breeding season they can be really difficult to find. If we were to think this was going to be our only encounter with this species we were very mistaken and stopped for lunch at a spot where two (either a prospective pair or two rival males) were busily chasing each other through the bushes around us – intent on each other and not on our presence. However despite excellent views, their quick movement made them impossible to photograph and we would have to wait till almost the end of the afternoon till we had one pose for us in a bush whilst it sang.

Nightingale

Nightingale

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Moving on from Brooklands, we came to a patch of open grassland and my thoughts were that this would be the sort of place where you would find a migrating Northern Wheatear, when Keith spied one atop a pile of earth – wish that worked more often! We were able to get some photos before it dropped down to the ground and out of sight.

Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

Nightingales continued to serenade us as we proceeded around Leybourne Lake and back up the west side of Brooklands. A Willow Warbler was heard but not found together with Chiffchaff and a good number of blackcaps plus a few Common Whitethroat. A second Sedge Warbler was heard on the western side of Brooklands and a Buzzard seen distantly over the North Downs before it was time to head for home. An excellent day with plenty of summer migrants which with the lovely weather means that summer is truly on its way. I hope!

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Collared Dove

Collared Dove

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Common Nightingale [sp] (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus Lapidarus)

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A morning walk on the London Wildlife Trust reserve at Braeburn Park in Crayford.

Braeburn Park has a chequered history. Much of the latter half of the last century it was a gravel extraction works, which was then used for Landfill. Part of the site was used by a gun club. The site was then purchased by a developer and a housing estate was built. As part of the building permission the land surrounding the extractions to the north, south and west had to be developed as a nature reserve.

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The London Wildlife trust took over the management last year and this was a chance to look around to see what had been accomplished in the last year and what the trust saw as the vision for the future.The part of the reserve that we explored was to the north of the housing estate. It consists of scrub, woodland and the remains of some extraction pits,

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There were good numbers of Chiffchaff calling and some good views were seen. Blackcaps were heard by some people but were elusive to view. Other common birds were also present in good numbers. Unfortunately the resident Bullfinches did not put in an appearance. Tony, our guide told us this was one of the few places in London where you could still find this species.

Chifchaff

Chifchaff

Greenfinch

Greenfinch

Robin

Robin

The real rarities found on the reserve are the invertebrate life. We stopped in an area of sand bank to see the solitary bees and wasps which use them to burrow the holes in which they lay their eggs. There are about 8-10 species present here and some of them are quite rare.

Sandbanks - an important habitat on the reserve

Sandbanks – an important habitat on the reserve

Holes in bank made by solitary bees and wasps to lay their eggs

Holes in bank made by solitary bees and wasps to lay their eggs

Large White, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were seen along with Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

peacock Butterfly

peacock Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell (archive photo)

Small Tortoiseshell (archive photo)

It is still a project very much in progress but this visit demonstrated that it does have a potential to be developed into a quality nature reserve.

European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)

Buff-tailed Bumblebee

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A bright sunny warm afternoon and so I set out to do this weeks butterfly / insect walk around the Tarn. From having no butterflies on the previous walks, the recent days of warm weather had done the trick. A female Orange-Tip was the first seen, followed by a male Brimstone and a small Tortoiseshell all in one area.

Small Tortoiseshell (archive photo)

Small Tortoiseshell (archive photo)

A little further on a Comma was found resting in the vegetation.

Comma

Comma

As I completed my walk Brimstones were again much in evidence with at least 3 males seen.

Brimstone - Butterfly
Brimstone
photo by Natural England (https://www.flickr.com/photos/naturalengland/)

An unusual call plus a bird flying low over the water drew my attention to some submerged wood in the lake on which were perched a pair of Grey Wagtails.

Female Grey Wagtail

Female Grey Wagtail

Male Grey wagtail

Male Grey wagtail

Our Greylag x Canada Goose pair seem to have set up nest again. This will be the third year they have bred here.

Canada x Greylag goose pair

Canada x Greylag goose pair

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Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

Common Carder-Bee

Decide that today I am going to catch up with all my local dragonfly and butterfly survey work for June. My first stop is Eltham Park, Shepherdleas Woods and Oxleas meadows which is a new site I have been asked to monitor this summer. These 3 different habitats are connected and run from south to north. Eltham Park also has a pond in it so there is the possibility of some dragonflies on the site.

Eltham Park

Eltham Park

Pond - Eltham Park

Pond – Eltham Park

Shepherdleas Woods

Shepherdleas Woods


The Park has plenty of butterflies almost all of them Meadow Browns, but this bodes well for other species later in the summer.

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

The Pond unfortunately shows no sign of dragonflies, perhaps because there is quite heavy tree cover which restricts the sunny warm places at its edge. No butterflies seen in the wood but Oxleas meadows turns up a treat with 5 Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Red Admirals all very keen to have their photos taken. In the end I had to stop myself taking photos as they just sat there.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

The weather this morning could not have been more different to Thursday. The Sun was bright as I set off to complete the winter Thrush survey for my patch and surrounding areas. My first stop was the Tarn.

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From the bridge I spotted a male Blackcap in the bushes at the east end of the lake (an area where I believe they have nested before). Was this a new arrival or the male from the pair that had been around the garden during the winter? I began to scan across the golf course and then a Mallard flushed a small pale bird from the grass. It distinctive tail pattern clearly said it was a Northern Wheatear (one of our earliest spring migrants). It flew away and disappeared behind some bushes. Sadly I was not able to re-locate it. Judging by the overall pale sandy colour this was a female. This is a first record for both the patch and the area.

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Female Northern Wheatear
Photo by Ron Knight (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sussexbirder/)

Elsewhere on the Tarn the Canada Geese were clearly pairing up and this was leading to some very aggressive behavior between males and between pairs

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Leaving the Tarn I went to Fairy Hill which was quiet except for a brief sighting of a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (my first of the year).

I then continued on around Eltham Palace, where a Chiffchaff was in the gardens and then down King John’s Walk. Pleased to see a number of House Sparrows again in the area by the riding stables and to find another Small Tortoiseshell – This one far more co-operative as it sunned itself on the path

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I completed the circuit by walking back home alongside the allotments and fields in Middle Park and was delighted to find 2 pairs of House Sparrows only 100 metres from the Tarn and so there is hope that one day if they continue to expand we may have this once very common bird back on the patch list.

And what of winter thrushes? Not one to be seen despite the fact that two Redwing had been seen by the Tarn yesterday. That’s natural History for you. You go out looking for winter vistors and come back having seen the first of the summer vistors, but then that’s why I love it so much.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)

White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)
Solitary Bee Sp (unidentified)

Tarn Park

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28 bird species were seen on the patch this month.This brings the years total to 49 and increases the total by 1 with the first sighting for the year of Grey Wagtail on the Tarn. This is an annual visitor on passage and was the second I had seen that week, having also had one at Sutcliffe Park.

Grey wagtail (This one seen in Canterbury)

Grey wagtail (This one seen in Canterbury)

The butterfly species Count was recorded this month 4 and the first record this year of Small Tortoiseshell was the only new species bringing the year total to 8.

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

3 species of Dragonfly were seen during the month with Migrant Hawker being a year first for the patch.

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Off to Greenwich Peninsular to look for migrant birds. During the week a number had been seen on the rough land at the southern end (Plots of land awaiting development). Unfortunately no such luck today and only resident species found. However I did find a migrant Butterfly when I had a brief but clear view of a Clouded Yellow before it disappeared over a fence into a development plot at a place where I could not get a good view of the land on the other side.

Maravilha // Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus), female
Clouded Yellow
photo by Valter Jacinto (http://www.flickr.com/photos/valter/)

I moved onto the Ecology Park which was also quiet bird-wise but which had good numbers of dragonflies (7 species) and butterflies (6 species). The best of these was a sighting of Banded Demoiselle which flitted across the water in front of me but refused to settle to enable me to photograph it.

Banded Demoiselle
Banded Demoiselle
photo by Sergey Yeliseev (http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

This is one of my favourite damselflies and this was a first sighting for me for both this year and for the site.
Also a number of Migrant Hawker (confusingly this breeds in Southern England and is not a migrant) were present and one male perched obligingly for me to photograph.

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Butterflies included Small Tortoisehell and Common Blue.

Small Tortoiseshelll

Small Tortoiseshelll

Large White (Female)

Large White (Female)

Back at home a Jackdaw visited the garden which is the first sighting for about 3 months.

Although a quiet day for birds, an excellent one for dragonflies and butterflies

Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogea napi)
Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea)
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)