Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Tuesday 9th. July 2013

Playing catch up again after two very hot days .
After spending Monday helping a friend again , I returned to the little stream with the old camera for another go at the Beautiful Demoiselles . These were a courting pair , female above .
With several males in the area , there was a lot of aggressive wing flicking .
Eventually , the male clasped the female , and encouraged her to complete the 'ring' .
After a short time , she was ovipositing , with the male patrolling over the area .
Once home , and closing the car port gates , this insect , a female Gasteruption jaculator , what a great name ,was searching all the woodwork for any other insect's nests . If she had found an occupied nest , she would have laid her eggs onto , or into the host , where once hatched , the larvae would eat outside in or inside out  . The larvae feed on the non-essential organs of the host first , but when they are almost ready to pupate , they turn their attention to the essential organs of the host and kill it . I was unable to photograph it as it was constantly on the move , so I caught it in a plastic container and popped it in the fridge for a short time . When I took it out , just for a few seconds , it lay motionless , but managed a few shots , before as if coming out of an anaesthetic , the insect returned to full
movement and flew off , none the worse for the cooling experience .
With less than two weeks to the Kent BC visit to High Elms , I headed back to Cuckoo Wood and Burnt Gorse in the hope that the recent warm weather has encouraged the hoped for species to have emerged . Three hours concentrating on the glades favoured by the species , found not a single sign of one , now I'm worried if they are going to emerge at all . Only interest found were four specimens
of White Mullein / Verbascum lychnitis , a member of the Figwort family , of which a couple have
come into flower , and one of my favourite woodland plants , Enchanter's Nightshade / Circaea lutetiana , a member of the Willowherb family . A stop at Keston Ponds found plenty of Odonata interest , including Downy Emerald , Four-spotted Chaser , several female Emperor Dragonfies
ovipositing , one pictured , but none within 15 metres , lots of male Black-tailed Skimmers , all intent
on aerial battles , before dropping down to recover before the next one . In the top pond , a large Pike was lying in one of the few weed free areas , but it's presence didn't seem to worry the small fry , who
took no notice at all of the predator . I also had a quick glimpse of a terrapin that was the size of a dinner plate , and that's not a fisherman's tale . A pair of Coots are busy renovating their nest on the
middle pond , that could produce their third brood . Here the male was arriving with some additional vegetation . Just as I was about to leave , the female left the nest top feed and the two birds gave an
opportunity to compare the white frontal shields of the pair , with the shield of the female on the left , narrower and less prominent than that of the male .


Chris Rohrer said...

The shields on the coots are very interesting. The colors will change and make the bird look different. Lovely captures of the bugs close up! The fish shot looks like a part from the movie "Jaws". Da daaa da daaa...:)

Marc Heath said...

Great set Greenie, nice set of Demoiselle shots.

Ken. said...

I never tire of seeing pics of Beautiful Demoiselles,they are what they are "beautiful".
Great idea for getting pictures of insects, stick them in the fridge, just one question " How many insects popped their clogs before you got the timing just right, and did you ever have to give the kiss of life?
Great Pike shot, I have never see one.