Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sunday 6th.June 2010

If at first you don't succeed -
Woke up early , and decided again to try for Odonata emergence , but this time at the Farm lake , where there had been so many newly emerged specimens yesterday . Walking around the lake , it was still cool from the overnight rain , and what sunshine there was , was very watery , but as things happened , that was to my advantage . Just the odd damselfly was seen at first , so I headed to the most productive corner from yesterday . Searching through the bankside and emergant vegetation , I found many exuvia of the Black Tailed Skimmer , all empty , then found one with the adult halfway through emerging , just too late . But then I spotted another exuvia further out over the water , and through my binoculars I couldn't see any white threads on the back , which appear as the adult emerges , my luck was in . I set up the tripod as close as I could get , and whilst doing so , could see movement inside the thorax of the exuvia , to be correct , the nymph , as it still is at this stage of the metamorphosis . After a while , the head and thorax arched away from the vegetation , and the skin on top of the thorax split open , as the adult began to emerge .Then , like a scene out of Alien , the adult showed itself , pushing out it's head and thorax . This was followed by the abdomen . At this stage , the adult rested from it's exertions for about 20/30 minutes , looking as if it had all been to much , and expired . Then , seemingly refreshed , and with one very quick movement , hauled itself up onto the back of it's now almost empty exuvia . It then got the rest if it's abdomen out , and settled , riding piggyback on it's exuvia . Fluids were then pumped , mainly into the wings , which enlarged quite quickly , and some into the abdomen . It was now two and a half hours since I set up the tripod , and , getting hungry , I went home for breakfast , as I knew from watching parts of the emergence in the past , this part takes a fair time . Returning to the lake , suitably refreshed , all was as it was , except either the breeze which had got up or the insect itself had moved to the back of the stem . The other specimen had already opened it's wings , so I knew it wouldn't be long . Having walked around the lake again , three teneral Black Tailed Skimmers lifted off from the area as I approached , but the one I had been photographing was still there , waiting for me to take the final shot .In total I took over 50 shots of the emergence , too many to post , but I hope the ones I did post , give an insight into this , one of the miracles of nature . The four hours that I was on site , seemed like half an hour , and the whole thing was accompanied by Swallows and two House Martins skimming the lake surface , and Skylark and Yellowhammer singing , along with all the expected species .

On one of the laps of the lake , I stopped to check on the Orange Tip eggs that were layed on the Garlic Mustard growing on the fallen tree . Well , no sign of the eggs , but on each of the four flower heads , was a tiny caterpillar . That's egg and caterpillar , now I hope to find the chrysalis on the same plant when they pupate , which should be in about a month's time .
The sick looking young Coot that I posted a couple of visits ago has not been seen since , but the Coots have already got a second brood on the water . I'm sure that the Little Grebes have young now , but they have not been brought out from the safety of the reedbed yet . The Moorhens that I posted on the floating platform a while back seem to have only one chick left , no doubt down to the Grey Herons , one tried to come in yesterday whilst I was there , but thought better of it . Back on the Odonata front , as soon as it got warm enough , about 10 o'clock , the males started to appear , and the territorial disputes ensued . The Downy Emeralds were the first , closely followed by the Emperors , Four Spotted Chasers and the Black Tailed Skimmers . The latter were soon seen mating in flight , and the females almost immediately started ovipositing , dipping their abdomens and releasing an egg each time . In another corner , Four Spotted Chasers were doing their thing on the wing too . There was not much in the way of sunshine before I left , but a few butterflies were recorded , Large and Green-veined White , and Common Blue , but they were outnumbered by the number of immigrant Silver Ys .

5 comments:

Wilma said...

Fantastic post! I wonder if you could make your many photos of the emergence into a movie?

Phil said...

Wonderful dragonfly sequence - watching this happen is one of my unfulfilled ambitions .......

Warren Baker said...

Well done Greenie, patience well rewarded.

PS there are a lot of silver 'y' about, could it be their year ?

ShySongbird said...

Oh my goodness, this is really brilliant, Greenie. You have excelled yourself! How very patient you were and it is a testament to your knowledge that you were able to leave for a while and return later having missed nothing.

Wonderful photos and yes, an incredible insight into 'one of the miracles of nature'! What an amazing four hours you experienced and such a vivid account too. So when are we going to see you on the TV? :)

Dean said...

Two an half hours. I didn`t think it took that long. Thanks for sharing it with us, Greenie.