30th June 2003

Monica Anderson


The Beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) lives up to its name. We have at least 2 males of this showy damselfly on the site. It is a first for us - one was seen too briefly for a positive identification two years ago. The males are unmistakeable, as they are the only damselflies with all-navy blue wings. The only damselfly which could be confused with them is the Banded demoiselle, which, true to its name has transparent inner and outer sections of wing, divided by a broad blue band. We have also had these on site. The Beautiful demoiselle has a very butterfly-like flight, and dark metallic green-blue body. They are in flight from May to September, will mate and lay eggs on water plants. These will hatch and go through larval and pupal stages lasting two years.


We have three Reed warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) on site at the moment. There are two males singing really loudly, and one Silent bird; presumably and hopefully a female. We have plenty of suitable nesting sites for them on the bog and Spit areas; they nest, as their name suggests, in reeds and similar vegetation. To identify them ( for many of the warblers we are likely to see are 'little brown jobs') look for a slim, sparrow-sized bird, olivey-brown on the upper parts, with a lighter underside shading to a creamy throat. It has dark legs. The similar Willow warbler has pale legs and a light stripe over the eye, and the Chiff-chaff has its distinctive 2-note call to identify it. The Reed warbler is a migrant which spends its Winters in Africa. It is often the Cuckoo's victim, which replaces one of the Reed warbler's eggs with its own. On hatching, the large Cuckoo chick pushes all the other occupants out of the nest and thrives by taking up all its surrogate parents' food and attention.

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