What, Even More Dragonflies?

As I mentioned last week everything is bursting into life.  So as not to rush around like a ‘headless chicken’ I tried to plan places to visit and species to see.  Had to make the most of the heatwave as today it’s broken with heavy showers and thunder due.  I have seen and photographed lots of interesting things in the last ten days but I thought I would treat you all to more odonata including a couple of first time sightings!

Standing guard over the garden pond. Male Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa). His manner with the visiting ladies leaves a lot to be desired!

My old buddy John came up from Hertfordshire for a couple of days.  We visited Strumpshaw Fen primarily for Swallowtail butterflies.  The butterflies were notable by their absence but the dragons put on a great display.

Love the orange colouration of newly emerged Scarce Chasers (Libellula fulva). The males turn blue with a powdery substance called pruinescence whilst the females are brown
Banded Demoiselles (Calopteryx splendens) are gorgeous and always worth a photo
Another blue dragonfly on a stick? This is a male Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) which usually only rest on the ground!  Seen at Hickling Broad
Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) usually rests on floating water weeds like lilies. There were hundreds on the Suffolk Stour

So what about these two lifers?  I always like to have a target to aim for.  If you fail to see what you travel a long way for this can leave an empty feeling.  A successful trip and it’s big smiles for days.  Damselflies are not the most ‘in your face’ creatures.  Unlike their big, brash, colourful cousins the dragonflies, damsels keep low in the vegetation and go about their business in a slow, quiet way.  Make no mistake these tiny insects are vicious predators in their own right.  A day out to the Suffolk/Essex border produced the first and also a look at ‘Constable Country’.

White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes)  Flatford Suffolk. A very distinctive species, this is an immature male which will turn pale blue

The next target was going to be much more tricky.  The species can be found only at one site in East Anglia, it is usually found in the south, south/west of the Country.  I happened to meet an old friend who knew the exact spot for this tiny damselfly.  The place is kept somewhat secret to protect this delicate species.  I knew roughly the area but armed with a map, x marks the spot, I found them.  Without my friends help I would still be searching now!  Let me introduce…..

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumillio) At just over one inch (27mm) long proof that good things come in small packages!

I still have one more rare species to see locally however it should soon be time for the summer butterflies so who knows what I will post next!

43 thoughts on “What, Even More Dragonflies?

  1. So … we were watching the Finland / Russia game last night and we have a competition going on between the family and my godson and his family when Ems shouts at the screen, ”Come on Puki, do it for Brian, the butterfly man!”

    We all look at her and she says. ”What? He plays for Norwich and that’s your mate’s team, dad.”

    So it’s official, you’re the Butterfly man and we’re mates.
    *Sigh*
    Kids!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice one Ems! Mr Pukki is something of a City legend, we are all rooting for him but I fear the Fins are out of their depth…. speaking of which looking at the EPL fixture list I see we meet again first game, then we have Man City, Leicester and Arsenal…gulp.
      Never mind me old mate, there’s more to life than winning, as my teachers used to say “It’s the taking part that counts”, yeah right!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful shots, Brian, of some beautiful dragonflies and damselflies. It is really cool to learn that you were able to find some really rare species (and get such great photos of them) I was happy recently to get my hands on a copy of Steve Brooks and Steve Cham Field Guide for Great Britain and Ireland and look forward to reading a little more about these species. My copy is not the most recent version (it is the 2014 edition), but it looks to be pretty handy and informative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mike. That is my favourite field guide, the illustrations by Richard Lewington are superb and I prefer them rather than the photos used in other guides. If you manage to get back over to Europe the book will be a great help too but It’s still an interesting read.

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      1. Before I retired, my job used to bring me to Vienna, Austria and Brussels, Belgium several times a year and I managed to see and photograph a few European species, including the Migrant Hawker and the Green-eyed Hawker. I have a good friend in Ireland and a trip there is always a possibility when travel reopens. The cool thing about traveling to a new location is that all species of birds and insects seem exotic, even the most common ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on the tins! Fantastic captures as usual and right with you on the long trip back when you don’t find what you were looking for. Hell of an abdomen on that first one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly Mr B. Used to suffer from that empty feeling quite a bit when chasing a rare bird, at least with insects there is usually more than one of them. It’s then a case of trying to get one to sit still longer enough in a nice place to record the event!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. First, congratulations on two lifers! Nicely done.

    Simply outstanding photographs! I normally don’t pick “favorites” but I must admit to lusting after the Banded Demoiselles. Beautiful.

    Careful! More outings such as these and you might forget to return home!

    All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting Wally.
      The Demoiselles are beauties, even more so in flight as they resemble big,blue butterflies.
      Unfortunately Mrs H isn’t as keen on staying out as long as your good lady so no chance in forgetting to go home.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the very kind comment, much appreciate you taking time to check out my posts.
      I will certainly have a look at your blog, it’s something I do weekly to my followers.
      Cheers B

      Like

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