Male and female Willow Emerald at Foots Cray Meadows

Despite the overcast and breezy conditions, both a male and a female Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis) were seen at Foots Cray Meadows on 27th September by Chris Rose and Wren Rose. These are the second and third sightings in Bexley after Ian Stewart photographed a male here on the 24th. This after finding several at Ruxley Gravel Pits a week previously, which was the first record of this new colonist for Bromley. With both sexes present, there is a chance the species can establish itself at the Meadows and might be seen here in modest numbers in 2017. Other sites in Bexley should also be watched.

Wren and Chris were on a targeted search following Ian’s sighting, and struck lucky, spotting a lone specimen on a rush leaf by one of the newish ponds, moments after arriving.  The partly out-stretched wings immediately identified it as an Emerald of some sort, and the pale brown wing spots were easily seen from the right angle. Intent on getting a photo, insufficient attention was paid to the sex, and it soon flew off out of sight. Although the photos of this individual were somewhat blurred, later magnification showed that it was female.

A male was spotted at one of another pair of ponds some distance away, by standing under an overhanging Willow and looking up at the branches. Fortunately it was in an ideal position for photography, and several crisp pictures were taken by Wren. It repeatedly took off from the twig, hovered briefly and then landed back in the same place before eventually moving on.

Male Willow Emerald on Willow overhanging a pond at Foots Cray Meadows. (Photo: Wren Rose)

Male Willow Emerald on Willow overhanging a pond at Foots Cray Meadows. (Photo: Wren Rose)

The relative shortness of the inner parts of the genitalia, which are less than half that of the outer, confirm Willow Emerald. (Photo: Wren Rose)

The relative shortness of the inner parts of the genitalia, which are less than half that of the outer, confirm Willow Emerald. (Photo: Wren Rose)

Male Willow Emerald, silhouetted from a slight angle. (Photo: Wren Rose)

Male Willow Emerald, silhouetted from a slight angle. (Photo: Wren Rose)

A distant side view of the Willow Emerald. (Photo: Wren Rose)

A more distant side view of the perching Willow Emerald. (Photo: Wren Rose)

Wren found exuviae of two other species of Odonata, but no adults of any other species were seen on account of the weather.

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2 Responses to Male and female Willow Emerald at Foots Cray Meadows

  1. Ursula says:

    Wonderful photos. I will look into this more later

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