Axe wildlife watchers go wild about dragonflies

Black tailed Skimmers and Four Spotted Chasers are amongst species identified on the Wetlands

THE FIRST in a series of wildlife training days on the Axe Estuary Wetlands kicked off with an introduction to dragonflies.

Led by expert Dave Smallshire the participants were able to see lots of species, thanks to the ideal sunny conditions.

Fortunately identifying different dragonflies is fairly straightforward – their behaviour more or less lives up to their group names of chasers, skimmers, darters and hawkers – and the other part of their name is usually descriptive.

So by the end of the day, the group was readily identifying Broad Bodied Chasers, Black Tailed Skimmers and Four Spotted Chasers.

Mr Smallshire, a member of the British Dragonfly Society, showed how to catch the smaller and daintier damselflies and handle them without causing any injury, so the group was able to have a close look at them before releasing them unharmed.

The wildlife training days will continue throughout the summer.

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The themes for the forthcoming days are insects, wildlife art, plants and habitat management. Details of these are available on the countryside service pages of East Devon District Council’s website.