Over the past few weeks I have seen plenty of large red and azure damselflies zooming over the surface of the ponds on the reserve. These brightly coloured insects are superb arial hunters and can be seen hunting for prey over the water and you may spot the males defending their territory from intruding competitors or you may even see a pair of damselflies locked together on a lilly pad as the male grasps the females thorax with his long tail during mating.
Below the surface damselfly nymphs will hunt the other freshwater inhabitants such as tadpoles. There have also been a few great diving beetle larvae spotted. Strange alien looking invertebrates with fear pincer like jaws that inject their prey before they eat them! If you are visiting the reserve make sure you stop by the tree nursery to have a look at the pond there. As Laura mentioned last week the ermine moth caterpillars that were coating trees along the footpaths in their webs are now starting to emerge from their cocoons and lots of the small white moths can be seen throughout the reserve.
More wildflower species are also out, soaking up the summer sun, with species such as ragged robin, ox eye daisy and common spotted orchid out near the road and power station. Keep an eye out for them as you walk along the footpaths. Elsewhere on the reserve more butterfly species have been emerging in large numbers. The latest species to have been seen include meadow browns, ringlets and even a fritillary, which has yet to be identified! Hopefully it will be spotted again soon so we can get a better look at it, watch this space!
Bye for now!
Alex Kekewich – Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger