Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sunday 31st. May 2009

With the forecast of an even hotter day today , I set off early for Keston Ponds and Bog . Not early enough , as I found out from the traffic that there was a Charity Walk in the area of Hayes and Keston Commons , and the roads were already almost at gridlock .
So I turned around and headed for the Farm Lake , which was also on the route of the Walk , but hadn't been reached as yet by the walkers . The most obvious thing on arriving at the Lake , was that some of the male , larger Dragonflies were patrolling certain areas of the bank . At least 5 male Emperors were patrolling and scrapping when the two patrollers met . I must have attempted 25/30 shots of him in flight , but this was the only one that came anywhere near passable . Several aerial battles ensued , and on two occasions , I saw both fall onto the water's surface still fighting . On both occasions , they managed to overcome the surface tension and get away to fight another day . If either , or both hadn't managed to get off the surface , which both were trying to do to the other , they would have died , not from drowning , as they float on the surface , but from starvation , as in this game it's a matter of feed or die .
The Black Tailed Skimmers are still emerging in numbers . I found another in the variegated Rush , giving better light for the shot . As can be seen , the abdomen is fully extended , leaving just the wings to dry out , which wouldn't take long given today's temperature and warm breeze . The next time past , I saw the newly emerged take it's first flight , leaving just it's exuvia behind . All around the Lake , it's relations were emerging , some to the trees , and some like this one to the vegetation at the waterside . Over on the far side of the Lake , some of the early emergents , having now coloured up , have returned to the water , to find and fight for their territories . As I posted before , the females will stay the gold and black colours that they emerged in , but the males , like the Broad Bodied Chasers will become powder blue on the abdomen , and like the BBCs , have yellow spots along the sides of their abdomen . Apart from the size of the abdomen , the main difference between the two species is that the Black Tailed Skimmer does not have the dark markings at the base of each wing that the BBC does . The male BTS can be confused with the male Keeled Skimmer , but that does not have the yellow spots , and as it's name implies , has a narrow join type line along the top of it's abdomen . Also the male Scarce Chaser , but that has no yellow spots either , but does have dark patches at the wing bases . As well as the Dragonflies above , Azure , Common Blue , Large Red and Blue Tailed Damselflies were also recorded .
Butterflies were few with just Common Blue (3) , Painted Lady (4) and a single Large White being recorded .
I attempted again to photograph the Swallows , which today seemed as if they might have been taking Damselflies off the surface , rather than skimming a drink . As the first shot shows , some of the 'hits' , looked downright dangerous . Walking around , I came across this pair of Garden Spiders , and going with the norm , that the female is bigger , then the male seemed as if he wanted to know , but she didn't , and in the end chased him off . By now it was really warm , and even a passing Hornet stopped on a Lillypad for a drink .My last hour , was spent watching and photographing the latest newcomers . I hadn't noticed them , tucked up on the side of the vegetation in one corner , until I spotted what I think is the male , making repeated dives , then taking the proceeds to the corner just mentioned . I am leaving the remainder of this
post as a series of pictures , so you can quietly enjoy , as I did whilst taking them .

4 comments:

Warren Baker said...

Good Odonata photo's today Greenie. Very jealous of the little grebe chicks!

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie. You did well getting that photo of the Emperor Dragonfly. They are not the easiest thing to get on camera. Also the Dabchick chicks are great.You certainly had a good day.

roger.wood800 said...

Hi, a new reader here, after hearing about your site about a week ago, from a guy I met at Hutchinson's Bank, called Keith.

I've looked the site over for a 'Contact Greenie' facility, but haven't found one: do I need to look harder or isn't there one?

Roger

Greenie said...

Roger ,
My email address is just below the Comment Panel .
It's - jfmgaa@aol.com