Friday, October 11, 2013

The family odo-roadtrip - the dragonfly trip report

Ophiogomphus cecilia - without a doubt one of the highlights of the trip was my first ever encounter with this species on the Örtze river in Germany. Just have to see one in northern Sweden now...

Finally got round to writing up the trip report for our three-week summer tour of western Europe looking for dragonflies. We managed to see an amazing 55 species, of which seven species were new for me, and some of those high on my most-wanted list!

Trip locations and species recorded can be found on this link. We were very lucky with the weather throughout, experiencing ideal flying conditions at all the sites visited. We missed two of our target species; Platycnemis acutipennis (too late?) and Sympetrum depressisculum at De Plateaux (although the first of the season was found on the same day by another observer at the site...). A successful trip and we are looking forward to a planned southern Spain trip next year.

Gomphus simillimus - another new gomphid, this one was scarce at the excellent Les Tourbières de Vendoire reserve in France. This site produced the most species of any we visited during our journey.

Sympecma paedisca - another much-wanted species finally tracked down in The Netherlands at Lozedijk. This species only has a few records in Sweden, all from Gotland and all by the same observer, I will try and get over there next year for another look.

Aeshna grandis

It was not all dragonflies though, this Titania's fritillary was a surprise tick for me at Riedenersee in Austria.

Coenagrion hylas proved hard to find at Riedenersee, eventually we picked up this single male. Males of this species engage in remarkably robust and rather butch patrolling reminiscent of Anisoptera.

Somatochlora alpestris - another tick in Austria at Sonnenkopf, found hawking over small wet flushes and pools in the mountains. We took a cable car stuffed with cuddly toys up to the resort area and did not have to walk far for dragonflies. A great place for kids. Aeshna caerulea was here too but not so obliging.

Somatochlora alpestris perched.

Crocothemis erythraea

Onychogaster forcipatus

Sympetrum meridionale, we found good numbers of these along the coast of Îl de Ré this year, some (like this one) carrying huge mite burdens. 
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Lestes barbarus, common as usual on Îl de Ré but not seen elsewhere.
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Aeshna affinis - another common species on Îl de Ré.
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Oxygastra curtisii - long extinct in the UK and my most-wanted dragonfly. Not anymore! We had several encounters on two rivers in France. Just need to go back to get better photos...

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