Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dragging - 22/08/09 and another wryneck

We all got out of the house mid-afternoon and headed out to Älemossen. The sun was shining, so I made sure the dragonfly net was in the bag.

The only wet areas remaining at Älemossen are clustered together and look artificial; possibly the result of a last-ditch (!) excavation of pools to ensure the continuation of a wetland flora and fauna in this rapidly drying former bog complex. Whatever, the floating sphagnum moss in the pools is fantastic acid-loving dragonfly habitat.

Bird-wise the bog was quiet, a few redstart called from the bushes as we walked in. On arrival at the wet pools, we noted a few hawkers patrolling over the soupy sphagnum, making the most of the late afternoon sun. I quickly got into position and soon had my first ever Aeshna subarctica safely in the net. I had predicted this species presence at the site, but last year had visited in July and only managed Aeshna juncea I think juncea may have been flying today as well, but never managed to confirm it. The only other odonate identified was a single Lestes sponsa.

Aeshna subarctica - nice to have on the patch. This was a tick for me! The frons-clypeus suture widens as it approaches the eyes on this individual. Costa brown not yellow. Two pale marks on the underside of the thorax too. Looked darker and less impressive than juncea in flight.

Comparison shot of Aeshna juncea, same site but a month (27/07/08) before today's sighting of subarctica. The suture between the frons and clypeus narrows markedly as it approaches the eye. This individual also showed pale spots behind the eyes.

On the way home we looked for the cranes at Ehrenstorp but they have moved on. As we bumped down a track to the lake, we nearly ran over a wryneck, which flushed rather hesitantly right in front of the car, before flying off idly and perching for great views. Nice one!

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