Saturday, 23 April 2011

Out of Africa.

Three Vagrant Emperor Dragonflies have been seen at Denge Marsh in Kent today.

Anax ephippiger, macho..Massive migration wave in Portugal.
Male Vagrant Emperor . Albano Soares

The Vagrant Emperor (VE) is a well known migrant which occurs mainly in Africa and south-west Asia, it wanders to and fro to breed after rains, in some years migrations span across Europe and it is the only dragonfly ever recorded in Iceland, they can - after an invasion - reproduce in Central Europe and probably breeds in the Mediterranean basin.

Following three confirmed sightings in the UK last October, five have reached southwest England again this month, with one in Plymouth, Devon, another in Penryn, Cornwall, and three today in Kent . After the weather turned mild in the UK following the severe December we experienced, a VE was found in January in Pembrokeshire, followed by one in Cornwall in February. The appearance of the VE during our winter months instantly attracts attention simply because none of our native dragonflies are seen as flying adults then.

I've seen reports that large numbers of VE have been found in North Africa and the Middle East last winter and this presumably reflects a good breeding season further south in the preceding months. Some recent sightings of VE have included many thousands in southern Israel in March, such numbers are only rarely seen. In April very large numbers were reported moving northwards through Portugal with large numbers also seen in southern and central Spain. The southerly winds which have made for the excellent April weather in the UK have been the leading factor behind this movement. Sounds like keeping a beady eye out is a good idea.

On the subject of a warm spring, an early emergence of some resident dragon/damselflies has been observed and a Large Red Damselfly was seen in Cornwall at the end of March and a further eleven species have been reported on the wing in recent days.

But wait a minute this is supposed to be a bird/birding blog and is called Birds2blog, so to end with....

Coal Tit. Phillip Tomkinson 

This is a brilliant photograph of my favourite of the family, the Coal Tit with my thanks to PT.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Maybe the VE will invade like the Painted ladies did a few years back :-)