Strensall Common – 16/07/2017

A joint visit with the Yorkshire Dragonfly Group and Freshwater Habitats Trust to Strensall Common and the ponds at World’s End, attended by around twenty people. Conditions were overcast but brightened up by mid-day. Temperatures were in the high teens to low twenties, with a gentle westerly breeze blowing.

One of the three ponds visited at World's EndOne of the three ponds visited at World’s End

Overall seven different ponds were visited, the most productive of these being at World’s End. Fourteen species were recorded as follows:-

Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa – Present on most ponds.
Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula – Small numbers at World’s End ponds.
Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas – SIngle male at World’s End.
Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans – Present on most ponds.
Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella – Present on most ponds.
Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum – Present at World’s End and Pillwort Pond.
Common Hawker Aeshna juncea – Single male on Gorse in Danger Zone.
Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis – Present at ponds and hawking in sheltered rides.
Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator – Present at World’s End and Pillwort Pond.
Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata – Present at most ponds.
Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum – World’s End and Pillwort Pond.
Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum – Small number at World’s End ponds.
Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum – Common at most ponds.
Black Darter Sympetrum danae – Present in low numbers as several ponds.

Emerald Damselfly - Lestes sponsaEmerald Damselfly – Lestes sponsa

Azure Damselfly - Coenagrion puellaAzure Damselfly – Coenagrion puella

Common Hawker - Aeshna junceaCommon Hawker – Aeshna juncea

Four-spotted Chaser - Libellula quadrimaculataFour-spotted Chaser – Libellula quadrimaculata

Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatumCommon Darter – Sympetrum striolatum

Ruddy Darter - Sympetrum sanguineumRuddy Darter – Sympetrum sanguineum

Black Darter - Sympetrum danaeBlack Darter – Sympetrum danae

Several Lepidoptera species found including the rare Dark Bordered Beauty Epione vespertaria at its only know English site, and only occurring at two further Scottish sites. Another attractive moth, though fairly common here was Beautiful Yellow Underwing Anarta myrtilli. Other species recorded included Six-spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae, Four-dotted Footman Cybosia mesomella, Dingy Footman Eilema griseola, Straw Dot Rivula sericealis and Silver Y Autographa gamma. Butterflies were also well represented with Marbled White Melanargia galathea being the highlight for many of the group, other species noted included Large White Pieris brassicae, Small White Pieris rapi, Green-veined White Pieris napi, Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris, Large Skipper Ochlodes venatus, Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas, Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus, Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina, Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus and Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus.

73.257 Beautiful Yellow Underwing - Anarta myrtilliBeautiful Yellow Underwing – Anarta myrtilli

Marbled White - Melanargia galatheaMarbled White – Melanargia galathea

As I wandered around I also looked out for True Bugs (Hemiptera), and was pleased to find two new species to me. First was on of the Leafhoppers Cicadella viridis which was abundant around the ponds, the second being Campyloneura virgula found at the first pond near the car park. Two other species recorded were Red-legged Shieldbug Pentatoma rufipes and Deraeocoris ruber.

Cicadella viridisCicadella viridis

Campyloneura virgulaCampyloneura virgula

Red-legged Shieldbug - Pentatoma rufipesRed-legged Shieldbug – Pentatoma rufipes

Deraeocoris ruberDeraeocoris ruber

Orthoptera, Grasshoppers and Crickets were obvious around the site, though always difficult to photograph amongst the grasses. I did manage single shots of Bog Bush-cricket Metrioptera brachyptera, Common Green Grasshopper Omocestus viridulus and Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus.

Bog Bush-cricket - Metrioptera brachypteraBog Bush-cricket – Metrioptera brachyptera

Common Green Grasshopper - Omocestus viridulusCommon Green Grasshopper – Omocestus viridulus

Meadow Grasshopper - Chorthippus parallelusMeadow Grasshopper – Chorthippus parallelus

Was disappointed with the number of Hoverflies, only picking out two species. Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus are very abundant this year and obvious as you walked the site. The only other species found was a single Eristalinus sepulchralis near Pillwort Pond.

Episyrphus balteatusEpisyrphus balteatus

Full set of photos from this visit can be found on my Flickr site.