Monday, June 15, 2020

Hornet Moth

Day 88 of our exile in Banbury and another success. Earlier during the 'situation' I'd noticed old exit holes at the base of several mature poplars in Bankside Park near where we're holed up and made a note to return and check the first sunny morning in the second half of June. First try this morning and bingo! Four in total, two in cop, on two of the eight trees in the park. First time I've seen these in 14 years.

Hornet Moth Sesia apiformis

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly

86 days marooned in Banbury, where the wildlife has been surprisingly entertaining. Nightly visits from up to 2 Badgers and regular Peregrines over. Even single passage Whinchat and Wheatear earlier in the spring.

However it's taken until today to find a lifer. A Red Data Book species with a scattered distribution across southern England and a westerly bias, it's perhaps not surprising I'd not previously encountered Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilo). But since being here and getting to know the area I've had my eye on a stormwater pond at a new development near Longford Park. The species is known for colonising successional habitats so I thought it might be a good bet.

They outnumbered most other odonata there, except perhaps Azure Damselfly (my first of the year). Although known from Oxfordshire it may not have been recorded around here before according to the BDS website but will be contacting the local recorder.

Easiest feature to spot is the limited black at the very tip of the abdomen. Photos of Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) included for comparison.

Other species present in smaller numbers were Large Red Damselfly, Black-tailed Skimmer and Emperor Dragonfly.
Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilio)

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilio)

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) for comparison