Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Wednesday 30th. May 2012

The main objective today was to visit the owners of the Farm lake that I have been visiting for over ten years as they are moving to pastures new tomorrow . They have allowed me access , whenever I have wanted , and can only thank them for all the pleasure that their lake has given me over the years . A bonus was that they had mentioned me to the new owners and they are quite happy for me to carry on as before , so it was a case of sadness on their departure and gladness that I can carry on , treating their lake as mine . I made my usual visit , to what I must say was a fairly subdued lake , finding damselflies far more abundant than dragonflies , but still the odd surprise came along . Blue-
tailed Damselflies were the most numerous species seen , with plenty of mature males , like this one having his breakfast , a moth I saw him catch . Plenty of females around too in their various colours ,
form violacea ,
form rufescens ,
and form rufescens-obsoleta , a sandy coloured specimen , this one in 'the ring' with her male .
In one corner of the lake , a small , fast flying dragonfly had me spending a lot of time and energy ,
trying to get a shot of this little jewel in the air , a male Downy Emerald , one of three recorded today . Anyone who has tried will know just how exasperating this species can be to photograph . Whilst walking through the bankside vegetation , a medium sized dragonfly took off and landed some way further on . A search of the landing area confirmed my suspicions , a freshly emerged
Black Tailed Skimmer . Like yesterday's Broad Bodied Chaser , all newly emerged specimens have this gold and black colouration . The female will keep these colours , but the male will get a powder blue abdomen , topped off with a black tip , hence their name . The strongly tapering tip to the abdomen and the claspers at the very tip , with which he will hold the female at the back of the head in order to mate on the wing , make this specimen a male . The female has a less tapering tip to her abdomen and obviously lacks the claspers .
A close up shows the muscular thorax , the engine-house of the insect , enabling it effortless flight and high speed change of direction .  Also that most of the insect's head is taken up by those enormous compound eyes , giving it all round vision . The answer to the question once
again was yes , and this shot also shows one of the points that separate dragonflies and damselflies . Those large compound eyes of dragonflies come together at the top of the head , whereas the eyes of damselflies sit either side of the head , far from touching . After the photo call , I went back to where
he had lifted off from and after a bit of searching found his exuvia . I had thought I had seen one earlier , but when I got back to the corner I started from , I was able to confirm my sighting when I
found a male Emperor Dragonfly , my first this year , some way off on the back of a reedbed . Hopefully closer shots will come soon . Whilst trying to get this shot , a pair of Four-spotted Chasers mated on the wing in the same bay , but never came near the camera .Butterflies were few and far between , but I did record Peacock , Small Heath , Holly Blue , Green-veined , Small and Large White ( pictured
nectaring on Ragged Robin ) . The day flying moths Siver Y and Burnet Companion were also seen .
Other interest seen were a Roe Buck which chased off through the orchard on my arrival , two Hobbies doing acrobatics over the woods and loads of Dace of all different ages around the margins
of the lake . And finally , whilst looking through other shots taken at Spring Park Pond yesterday , having been under the impression that all the newts photographed were Common / Smooth , I found
 just a single shot of one that wasn't . Looks like any of the other males chasing a female , but that filament on the end of the male's tail , makes him a Palmate Newt .


Marc Heath said...

Great shots, love the dragonfly shots

Warren Baker said...

Never seen a Palmate Newt Greenie. I wonder why Blue tailed Damsels come in so many forms ?

Thanks for that Variable Damsel ID on mine by the way, I was well pleased with that one :-)

Phil said...

Snap with the Downy Emerald shots Greenie. I spent ages getting my shots at Sevenoaks WR.
Talking of Odonata, I hear that the Lesser Emperor has been seen at Abbey Mead again this year.

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos Greenie and interesting and useful Odonata information. At least, it will be useful if I ever see any here this year! Well done on your patience with the Downy Emerald and the subsequent photo and on spotting the Palmate Newt among your photos!

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Sorry not to comment before , but spent most of today trying to get my Broadband connection working .
Bet I had more wasted Downy Emerald , yes , it is , shots than you . Really like your GSW shots too . Enough of this can't remember the name of the hide , am emailing you a map of Sevenoaks Reserve with the hides named , no more excuses . Thanks for the Odonata info on mine , think I will have a go for that , the Turtle Dove and Cuckoo added would really make the trip worthwhile .

Ken. said...

You sure had a good days wildlife watching. Pleased to see that there are more species of dragonfly on the wing now.