Country Corner

A female azure Damselfly
A female azure Damselfly

Local naturalists and countrymen are all agreed this has been a very good spring and early summer for insects.

Damselflies like this female Azure Damselfly, mayflies, bumblebees and the early species of butterflies, have all been active and common.

This follows on from a wonderful insect summer last year followed by a mild winter which allowed widespread insect survival .

There are in fact several species of damselfly locally including three neon blue ones, the Common Blue, Blue Tailed and Azure.

Not to be outdone in colour or sheen, there is also the Large Red and the Emerald.

Generally speaking damselflies are much smaller and lighter than their bulky relations the dragonflies.

However the largest of Britain’s damsels, the demoiselles are on the march north.

Banded Demoiselles are now in southern Scotland and I expect to start seeing them locally before too long.

Almost any pond, river or even ditch, can support damselflies which are of course aquatic in their egg and nymph stages.

Also damselflies are highly mobile and will find isolated sites like garden ponds.

In fact, I took this photograph in the middle of a wood where the insect was resting on vegetation.

There can be no doubt that the easy and modern way to identify any damsel fly, or indeed any insect, is simply to photograph it and upload the picture to an internet site such as iSpot.

How simple compared to the old days when you had to catch the insect and keep it while you compared it to pictures in books.

So now the study of these beautiful insects is open to us all. See if you can find and name a damselfly.