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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Red-veined Darter..a delayed surprise !

In the heat of last week, it was necessary to get the nature stuff done in the morning. I got to Grimley around 10am and spent a couple of hours enjoying the activity around one of the pools at the north end.
The water was fresh and clear but receding alarmingly, potentially stranding the fish that were clearly visible in one part. All around the Pool Marsh Frogs were either calling or hoping out of sight as I passed.

Marsh Frog
A stick relatively close to the boggy shoreline afforded me the opportunity to get reasonably close to a recently emerged Damselfly. Below it, it's exuvia, and below that lots more exuvia of the ones that had preceded it.

Newly emerged Damselfly with exuvia
Within a few minutes the teneral damselfly made it's maiden flight a few meters into the longer grass where it stood a chance of maturing further away from predation.
Also on the wing were Emperors and the smaller but more numerous Black-tailed Skimmer. Many of the latter were copulating. Teneral Common Darters were also present in decent numbers.
I then bumped into fellow nature nerd and birder JT. We spent a good while speculating on a few red coloured darters that were ,well, darting around and occasionally perching up. Unfortunately the perching point was that bit too far off for my close focus x 6.5 bins I had chosen for the morning, and a bit too close for his scope !
The general initial feeling was possible Red-veined Darter, but the lack of optical assistance and very harsh light made picking up the salient features very difficult, despite a fair stint of observation. In the end the feeling was they were probably Ruddy Darter's, still a year first. However, I had my superzoom camera, so took the best pics I could of the pesky beast.
Fast farward a few days and I was trawling through my pics, and checked out the mystery darter. To my surprise I had a reasonable-ish image that showed yellow pterostigma with a black border,and a definite red veinining to the wing ..!
To be sure, I contacted the county expert Mike Averill who confirmed the ID as a muture Red-veined Darter.
This was the first recording of the species this year in VC37. It occurred on the same site in 2012 ( when I was lucky enough to see and photograph them ), and previous to that was recorded in the county on that site  in 2002,2003,2006.

Red-veined Darter 17th July 2013

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