Monday, 6 July 2015


I grew up in south Worcestershire and Banded Demoiselle were one of the signature species of the well-vegetated brooks which ran into the River Avon so I have always had a soft spot for this striking damselfly. In the parish their stronghold is along the stretch of the Swale where Bedale Beck joins the river. Yesterday afternoon I had a total of 40+ along a short stretch of the river, most concentrated around a single large patch of nettles, docks and thistle.

The males are unmistakeable with their broad blue-black band across the wing and their fluttering, almost butterfly-like, flight. The females are less distinctive but close up show a lovely iridescent green body and translucent green wings.

Also first good numbers of Small tortoiseshells there yesterday.

I noticed on these thistles that they all moved in a 90° clockwise direction until they had completed a full 360° . I assume this is to maximise their feeding efficiency rather than for display?


  1. Very good, Nick! You hadn't mentioned that you were blogging, but I'm now up to date having read all your posts. Nice to see a couple of my pics too. I see like me you resort to insects in July... the birding gets a bit flat, doesn't it? I've added your blog to my favorites. Regards, Chris

  2. Thanks Chris, I hope I credited you for the pics! Any sites in the parish you favour for butterflies?

  3. It's frustrating for butterflies in the parish. Generally speaking, the over cultivation and rotational set-aside limits species to 'generalists' in my opinion. That said, it's worth seeking out the pockets that can't be mown. The railway line is good for Wall and Common Blue, both of which double brood in May/Jun and Aug/Oct. There is a loop of the Swale S West of Thrintoft that has been abandoned. It's great for nectaring vanessids and might be worth a look for skippers. Tree laying species should be unaffected by land use and so it's worth scouring stands of oak and the remaining elm on warm Jul/Aug evenings for Purple Hairstreak or White Letter Hairstreak respectively. I've had no luck on the few occasions I've searched but there are regular sightings in surrounding areas so I'm sure populations must hang on.