Covid-19 restrictions meant cancellaton of this year's public Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk. However a couple of our FoSL members, father and son Rob and Alex Liddle, who are great at identifying these insects, agreed to do a walk around the lake for us and report back on what they saw. Below is their report. You can also download an illustrated version from here.
Our walk started on the causeway at 11:25am in warm, sunny weather, with a lot of butterflies and dragonflies active on arrival.
We began with a couple of Gatekeepers in the causeway scrub, along with 3 Peacocks, a couple of Red Admirals and many Common Blue Damselflies. The most numerous butterflies were Whites, but most were seen distantly only in flight so could not be identified confidently, but most of the settled Whites around this area were Small Whites.
Just beyond the causeway in the field on the other side of the path to the cattle field were numerous Meadow Browns, many more Whites, a couple more Gatekeepers and Red Admirals, as well as the first few Commas.
Next, the start of the path running alongside the River Colne held more Small Whites, Red Admirals, huge numbers of Common Blue Damselfly, the only Speckled Wood of the walk, a Holly Blue and a Brimstone.
Slightly further on were a few Banded Demoiselles on the River Colne, along with many Blue-Tailed Damselflies beside the river. Green Veined Whites were the most numerous Whites on the vegetation beside the river, with many more of the species recorded earlier in the day.
Near the end of the walk, a Brown Hawker was flying over the Lake, with a Black-Tailed Skimmer in the same spot. The final new species of the day was a Southern Hawker seen briefly resting on a tree in the West side of the reserve.
Most species we expected to record were seen, with the only missing expected species being Small Red-Eyed Damselfly, possibly due to what looks like less floating vegetation compared to last year.
The cow meadows are often one of the better areas for certain species but the gates were locked. A couple of Skipper species (Small/Essex) were seen distantly in the field, but the views were not good enough for identification to species.
Some Totals might be lower than the actual number of individuals present, due to trying to avoid counting the same individual multiple times.
Gatekeeper - 2
Peacock - 6
Holly Blue - 3
Brimstone - 2
Comma - 4
Red Admiral -5
Meadow Brown - 8
Small White - 5
Green-Veined White - 6
Speckled Wood - 1
Common Blue Damselfly - 25
Banded Demoiselle - 8
Blue-Tailed Damselfly - 8
Brown Hawker - 1
Black-Tailed Skimmer - 1
Southern Hawker - 1