Just to let everyone know that we will be having some work done on a fallen tree this morning on the public footpath through the woodland. The work won't take long, but is urgent due to removal a dangerous bough that has fallen over the footpath yesterday afternoon.
We apologise for any inconvenience and the path we be re-opened this afternoon.
The Langford Team (01636 893611)
Langford has had an Odonata overload in the last couple of weeks, with many new species for the year bursting onto the scene in really good numbers! I reported our delight at rediscovering hairy dragonfly on site, after an absence last year. This species is rather uncommon, but has been expanding northwards over the last few years and was discovered at Langford in 2014. Several individuals have been seen on site this year, including a pair in cop - confirming breeding. Rather conveniently, they are the smallest of the hawkers and the earliest flying - emerging as early as late April in some years, making them easily distinguishable from other hawker species.
And on the subject of other hawker species, we now have emperor dragonfly and brown hawker on the wing. Emperor dragonflies are our largest species - up to about 80mm, they fly with their abdomens characteristically dipped, making them easy to identify even from a distance. Brown hawkers are also large and are the only species of UK dragonfly that have brown coloured wings. Also on the wing at the moment is black-tailed skimmer - the males being a pale, powdery blue colour with a black tip to the abdomen, but the females are a striking yellow and brown. Four-spot chasers have had a good year too, although are mostly over now. They are very aptly named, having two black coloured patches on each forewing.
And of course there are plenty of the dragonflies smaller cousins around too, the damselflies. Hundreds of common blue and azure damselflies can be seen at this time of year over water and hunting insects over the grasslands, making quite a spectacle on warm and sunny days. One species in particular to look out for is red-eyed damselfly - as their name suggests, they do indeed have red eyes, with the males being a stunning blue colouration. They often sit out on leaves defending their territory from other damselflies.
Common blue damselfly. Jodie Randall (rspb-images.com)
Regular WeBS counter Stuart Carlton completed the latest monthly count last week on site - always a quiet time of year for this survey, but still some nice things around. Here are his results....
28 tufted duck
51 mute swan - impressive number
25 Canada goose
7 greylag goose
2 grey heron
9 great crested grebe
6 little ringed plover
5 black-headed gull
4 common tern
There are also plenty of insects around now too, with several species of butterfly on the wing. Painted lady's have started to make an appearance after an influx into the UK of this migrant species, the first large skippers are on the wing and common blues have appeared in the last few days. Odonata wise, there is loads to see, particularly around the Phase 1 grassland and water's edges, with red-eyed damselfly and hairy dragonfly being the highlights. Hairy dragonfly is a species expanding it's range northwards. They were first discovered at Langford in 2014, but after no records in 2015, they are back and it's great to see them. A pair seen in cop confirms breeding too!
Some other good insects around recently include the stunning wasp beetle, Clytus arietis, banded demoiselle, loads of drinker moth caterpillars, Cercopis vulnerata - large red and black froghopper and Rhogogaster - a bright lime green coloured sawfly.
Hairy dragonfly. Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)