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Rare damselflies thriving during lockdown

Naturalists from WildCookham have been excited to find three rare species of damselflies.

The flying wetland creatures are a relation of the dragonfly and according to Brian Clews of WildCookham the Variable Damselfly, although ‘scarce’ seems to be increasing in number locally.

Only recorded along Widbrook and Strand Water previously, and in ‘seriously declining numbers’, the insect has been found at another location, which is being kept a secret for its protection.

Brian says their presence may be a result of lockdown.

"There's clear evidence that the lack of human intrusion over the early Summer period has allowed much of our wildlife to thrive,” he said.

Brian has also spotted the extremely rare White-legged and Willow Emerald Damselflies, also at a secret location, which he says have declined in numbers due to the loss the of wetlands and ponds.

"Creating wildlife ponds in gardens, even small ones, can make a big difference to these species and help ensure their survival."

WildCookham is also surveying Glow-worms, a beetle that gets its name from the female of the species and the light she emits to attract a mate.

Clearance of hedges and verges has destroyed some of their local habitat but volunteers have spotted nearly 30 in night-time walks this month, mostly near Strande Park.

WildCookham is concerned that possible development in the area will remove the habitat for the creatures and accelerate their demise.

Find out more about WildCookham at www.wildcookham.org.uk

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