Saturday 24 November 2012

Chasing the dragon... again

It's that time of year again, when the northern hemisphere sees less of the Sun, thanks to the obliquity of the ecliptic. Rain clouds unveil their dull grey sheets and heavy curtains of wetness, whilst dreary days of miserable weather merge together like a suffocating blanket. It's the meteorological soft furnishing department from precipitation hell.

Yep, it's time for the annual ode audit, submitting my dragonfly records for 2012.

In the dry.

This has been the final flight season before the British Dragonfly Society publishes its next Atlas in 2013, so it's been my last chance to help add data to build up the national picture regarding the distribution of dragonflies and damselflies within these shores.

Despite the cold damp Summer, through the year I have achieved a reasonable total of twenty eight species, though not all of these were seen in Buckinghamshire, more's the pity.

From the very first damsel of the Spring (a Large Red in Carmarthenshire on April 3rd) to the last dragon of Autumn (a Migrant Hawker in Hertfordshire on November 11th), it has been a roller-coaster of a year. The damsel was the earliest I've seen by several weeks, whilst the Migrant was later than any of my previous Hawkers by five days.

In chasing these dragons, I've covered a fair bit of ground: as well as kicking off the year in Wales, I've ventured to the north west of Scotland to see Azure Hawker and Northern Emerald;  Our Lass and I visited Norfolk and its eponymous Hawker in June; I stumbled upon my sole Beautiful Demoiselle of 2012 whilst working in Surrey; and we visited the English Marches in August for Black Darters. My notebook reckons that, all told, I've recorded Odonata in thirteen different counties this year, but that's still only tracking down about sixty per cent of the British list.

Variable Damselfly, Coenagrion pulchellum, Wicken Fen June 2012
It would seem that I need to try harder. Oh well, next year...


holdingmoments said...

Considering the dire weather this year Graeme, 60% sounds pretty good to me.

Imperfect and Tense said...

It is, Keith! But I'm wondering where I would find the time to have a go at 100%. To add to the fun, we're losing some species in the north and gaining others in the south, so one year may be different from the next.

Once you cross the English Channel, the total zooms up enormously, of course. But I feel I should experience the British species first.