Dragons skimming by the Wellington Monument

Last week whilst working near the Wellington Monument in Aldershot, I spotted some interesting dragonflies. Several Keeled Skimmers were basking on a heath nearby. Typically of skimmers these small-medium dragonflies hold their wings forward when they rest and are easily missed.

Both sexes have a narrow black dorsal line or ‘Keel’. The male has a distinctive entirely powder-blue abdomen, whilst the female looks very different with a yellow ochre colour.  This ‘keel’ sets the species apart from the similar Black-Tailed Skimmer, where the unsurprisingly the male sports a black-tipped abdomen and the  female has a distinctive black ladder pattern.

Male Keeled Skimmer

Male Keeled Skimmer

Female Keeled Skimmer

Female Keeled Skimmer

Also on the newly cut field by the statue I found this Female Emperor Dragonfly which is hard to miss due to it’s large size. This is a female because of the thick black dorsal line down the abdomen. However just to keep me on my toes, whilst females are usually green all over, this is the more unusual blue form which can easily be mistaken for a male.

Female emperor dragonfly - unusual blue form

Female emperor dragonfly – unusual blue form

Ranger Stuart

About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
This entry was posted in Conservation, Wellesley Woodlands, Wildlife and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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