Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Red-veined Darters


Male Red-veined Darter, Broom gravel pits, Bedfordshire

We're being invaded. Not by anything bad, just Red-veined Darters. On its status, the British Dragonfly Society website says: 'Fairly frequent migrant, principally to southwest England though scattered records from elsewhere... Breeds nearly annually, but colonies seemingly not stable.'

This year has seen the first-ever record of Red-veined Darter in Bedfordshire, and I've never seen one anywhere, so it was only appropriate to head out to Broom at lunchtime. Mark had seen a grand total of 38 there on Saturday, but we only managed about six today.

However, they're very smart insects, and not as hard to identify as I thought they might be. Being darters, they conveniently perched on top of reeds for minutes at a time, making short sorties to hunt, which meant I could get the scope on them for closer inspection.

The red veins in the wings were very apparent, and the bluish colour of part of the eyes and the orangey pterostigmata (oooh, get me! They're the spots on the wings...) were also visible without too much eye-strain.

Hopefully I'll be able to get out at the weekend and find some of my own...

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece