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Sunny Days & Dragons

Having been laid up with a bad back recently I had a recuperative walk on Newchurch Common on 17th May in the morning sunshine.

The most surprising find, albeit not totally out of the ordinary, was the return to Sandiway Big Pool of the female Smew. She always leaves the pool in the summer to be with the breeding Tufted Ducks, her carrier flock, and will occasionally return as she isn't actually breeding as they are! She was very elusive tucked up under the island and the flew over the willow spit and I couldn't relocate her.

The other main news was the Cuckoo still being around. He was initially on Abbots Moss and then seen flying to land in trees near Small Pool and was very vocal in both locations.

Otherwise 8+Garden Warblers were heard singing, a couple showing well, and a Green Woodpecker was heard again.

Of invertebrated interest a new butterfly species for the year was seen on Shemmy Moss namely Small Copper. Other butterflies were as my last walk, just missing a couple of species. A new damselfly species was also seen, Red-eyed Damselfly on Small Pool. Nettle Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus) was abundant and new for the site. Red and Black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata) was also seen. I had my first Volucella bombylans hoverfly too and 3 species of Ladybird: 14-spot, 7-spot & the first Harlequins.

Later in the week a short walk on Newchurch in the sunshine on the afternoon of 20th May produced very little the bird front. I heard a Cuckoo over on the mosslands and a couple of visiting birders said that they had heard two birds, but I couldn't confirm that. Otherwise just a Green Woodpecker was calling and several Garden Warblers as usual.

Several new species of Odonata were added to the year list. Most impressive was an immature male Broad-bodied Chaser near Big Pool. There was a huge emergence of Common Blue Damselflies and a few Blue-tailed Damselflies new out. Two male Downy Emeralds were seen and Red-eyed Damselflies still. To complete the tally Azure and Large Red Damselflies were still on the wing.

The most noteworthy butterfly was Holly Blue. A Cinnabar moth was also seen. Other finds were Green Shieldbug, Scorpion Fly, Nursery Web Spider, Cockchafer and a Click Beetle.

Large Red Damselfly

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