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Steve Mathers

Steve Mathers

NatureSpot Trustee

Notts County Recorder for Butterflies

Scarce Chaser

Scarce Chaser

Libellula fulva

Why did you choose this species?

In summer 2016, having just started recording with NatureSpot, I was walking along the Leicestershire bank of the River Soar north of Kegworth. I was taking photos of anything that would sit still and Chasers are very good in this respect as they return repeatedly to favourite perches. Examining my photos later I realised they included images of Scarce Chaser, and according to the then-known distribution it had only been seen as a rarity 50 miles away in the opposite corner of VC55 around Rutland Water. This chance sighting came as quite a surprise to me as a new recorder and to other dragonfly enthusiasts and I felt pleased I had contributed something of value.

What are the threats that it faces?

Nationally the Scarce Chaser is doing rather well and is gradually expanding its range northwestwards across England. The Scarce Chaser inhabits slow moving muddy rivers with lush marginal vegetation. Bank erosion by river traffic and river pollution pose threats to this species.

What can we do to help this species and others like it?

The population on the Soar has becoming established with as many as 12 individuals noted in 2020. Because of its biennial breeding cycle it has only been seen in this location in alternate years so far (2016, 2018, 2020).

The Scarce Chaser is now appearing along much of the River Welland which forms the county boundary with Northants in the SE of VC55 (Leics & Rutland).

NatureSpot recorders can help to monitor the spread of Scarce Chaser across VC55.

What are your wider interests in nature?

Bird watching, marine molluscs, coastal ecology, moths, butterflies, and dragonflies from a global perspective.

Where is your favourite place for enjoying nature?

The Grantham Canal is close to home and the towpath is well maintained for walkers. The canal is rich in dragonflies and damselflies, including rarer species such as the Variable Damselfly, Small Red-eyed Damselfly and Hairy Dragonfly.

What are your top tips for helping wildlife?

Support conservation organisations engaged in the management, restoration and improvement of key habitats for wildlife. In our region these include the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Butterfly Conservation.