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Friday, August 11, 2017

Glow worms search

Just posted a comment on Curry Rivel facebook page to report on our Glow Worm search. Better than I dared hope!

Curry Rivel David GermanWe were searching for an hour and a half and it was getting dark and bingo we found our first female glowworm, eventually we had seen a dozen and after two hours we finished happy at our successful walk. We also listened to bats out hunting through out our walk. A real nature ramble and a great success! With Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey Group.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Glow worm search

The Heart of the Levels Group had a successful search a few weeks ago and found 15 insects  near Somerton. This walk hopes to find the insects in Curry Rivel parish.

Curry Rivel News August 2017
Gleeful Glow worms in Curry Rivel Catherine Mowat
Family event Were looking for glow worms around Curry Rivel on Friday 11th August. Come and help us find them! Meet outside West Field play park at 8pm. Bring torches and stout footwear; children must be accompanied. We will split into groups, some walking a short distance on easy terrain, some further – up to 2 miles – who will explore steep uneven terrain. This will be in the dark, and people can choose their group.
As we travel in our cars at night with their glowing headlights, we fail to notce the little magical glow worm, shining about as bright as a hi-fi LED indicator. Yet we are fortunate to have these unusual beetles in our parish. The adult female has glowing segments on her tail; she sits in open grassland and holds up her tail after dusk to atract a mate. She cant fly, and repeats this for several nights until a male – who can fly – flies in and mates with her. She then turns out her light, lays her eggs and dies. She is called a glow worm because she looks a bit life a caterpillar, with segments and no wings. The eggs hatch into larvae which spend two summers or so, feeding on snails which they paralyse before sucking them empty.
If you find a glow worm, admire it but do not disturb it and, most importantly, leave it where it is. There are very few about indeed, we need to let them get on with their life. 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Dragonflies . Comment on my last post.

Pleased to get a prompt response from my friend Chris Chappell: 
"Nice to hear of your success with the dragonflies, Pauline has a similar sized pond and many have emerged, at one point the lily pads were covered in damselfly exuvia."
Chris takes much better photos than we do! However I was pleased we captured the significant few minutes shown I'm my last post taken with a hand held iPhone
Don't forget if you click on the picture it should expand its size.

An excellent photo of a Common darter (Sympetrum striolatum )


Male common darter Ham Wall yesterday. Chris Chappell

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Dragonflies., from our very own garden pond!

Possibly a Southern hawker ( Aeshna cycnea )
 Just emerged from lava case
 Ready to fly

Some of the more than 30 lava cases recovered this summer from the pond just 2.5m by 1.5m

Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey Group report.
Good year for DRAGONFLIES

We all know and admire the beauty of dragonflies and those of us with garden ponds will have the pleasure of seeing damselflies hovering over the water on sunny days.  This charming species is very ancient, around 300 million years old as fossilised remains have proved.  So, a very successful insect perhaps because in contrast to their beauty they are aggressive, carnivorous predators during their short summer lives.

Dragonflies are recognisable to most of us in two groups - dragonflies and damselflies.  Dragonflies are the larger and stouter and damselflies are smaller and daintier.  When trying to identify them there is one very obvious difference.  When at rest dragonflies keep their wings spread open but damselflies keep them folded together along their backs.  Otherwise they have the same characteristics and only differ in where they hunt and where they tend to lay their eggs. 

 All of them need to be near water but certain dragonflies (known as darters or hawkers) will hunt along hedgerows or at woodland edges.  To catch their prey dragonflies are known to fly as fast as 60 mph!

Eggs are laid in water, mud or in waterside plants.  These eggs hatch into larvae which sometimes remain in their watery birthplaces for several years feeding on all sorts of underwater prey including small fish and frog spawn.  When weather and temperature conditions are just right they emerge, climbing up the stalks of water plants and start to change into their adult form.  Once able to fly they immediate look for mates and start the whole process again but within 2-3 weeks they have completed their work and die.

Dragonflies are usually seen on sunny, warm days when there is plenty of food about but in poor weather they will stay hidden sometimes hanging underneath leaves (perhaps sheltering from our frequent rainfall!).  As with all animal life poor conditions and lack of food sources will affect the survival of dragonflies and indeed there are some that are now giving cause for concern. In fact dragonflies are an indicator species because of their reliance on healthy water courses.  If dragonflies disappear from a watery habitat then there is something wrong with its ecology.
Water pollution is a serious threat which has reduced where control is possible but is still a danger where thoughtless waste disposal continues.

There are some 30 species of dragonfly and 20 species of damselfly in Britain but identification is not easy because they are only visible for a short time and they can fly very fast.  Nowadays with camera phones perhaps it is possible to take a photo for later identification.  There are a few websites devoted to dragonflies e.g.  where you can find more information.  Identification is not necessary for most of us to enjoy the sight of a dragonfly with its fragile shimmering wings and striking body colours.  If you find them in your garden you know that you have created a healthy habitat and many other invaluable insects will want to join them.