Lost Dragonflies

It’s been a few weeks since I have subjected you, my dear readers, to a dragonfly post.  It’s not that I have been ignoring these gorgeous aerial assassins, oh no far from it.  I have been clicking away and recording my sightings so that on a wet, windy, Friday I can overload your senses with their varied beauty.  Today is that wet, windy, Friday.

And to hold your attention and stop you dozing off, at the end of the post is something a little bit special.  No cheating and skipping through the images so you can get on and do your daily chores, I may be asking questions so pay attention at the back!

At the start of July we visited the Pingo trail at Thompson Common in sth Norfolk to see these Scarce Emerald Damselflies (Lestes dryas). Now hands up those who can remember from last year what a pingo is?
A female ‘common’ Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa) at Winterton Dunes. Almost impossible to tell apart from Scarce Emerald by eyesight in the field. The females of both species lack the blue powdery colouring known as pruinescence
Anax imperator, even the Latin name sounds formidable. This is the Emperor dragonfly, our largest odonata, patrolling a pool at Winterton
One of the latest species to appear is the Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). Usually constantly on the move, nice to capture one hanging around
Even in the garden it’s hard to avoid the attention of dragons. Mrs H trying to swat up on her German language had a Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) desperately trying to get in on the act!

Right we are nearly at the end so here is the first surprise.  Yesterday (5th) I was pond watching when a damselfly landed on a lily pad.  First glance and I thought it was a Blue-tailed.  Second glance and it was not right as the blue was at the very tip of the abdomen and the eyes seemed reddish in colour.  Quickly grabbed the camera and confirmation, a Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum).  This damsel first colonised the UK in 1999 and have spread to many areas.  I remember seeing some of the first and it was quite exciting for dragonfly watchers.  They are not that common and I would never have expected one in the garden.  This is the 13th species I have recorded at our pond in the year we have lived here.

Star of the pond, Small Red-eyed Damselfly

So we come to the end of the post and the BIG surprise.  I know, the photo isn’t great lots of vegetation in the way but this is a bit special.  A couple of days ago I was wandering around Winterton Dunes watching the dragonflies in a feeding frenzy and one caught my eye.  I couldn’t place it but as it sped around I kept seeing a bright blue band and my mind went into overdrive.  It had to be one of two species, both rare vagrants from Southern Europe.  Then, by sheer luck, it settled for just a few seconds right close by just enough time for two shots.  There we have it a Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope).  Only first recorded in the UK in 1996, it has bred but is still a very rare beast.  Even better.  I returned the next morning and it was still there in the same area only now there was two!  This time there was no photo opportunities but you should have seen the size of my smile!

Lesser Emperor Winterton, Norfolk

So that’s it class you can all run along now and play nicely.  If you wish to see more of these beautiful creatures check out  https://blhphotoblog.wordpress.com/british-damsel-dragonflies/

49 thoughts on “Lost Dragonflies

  1. Aha, you do have some of the same odes we have — L. dryas is common here, but we call it the Emerald Spreadwing. And wowie, your Lesser Emperor sighting was fantastic — it’s always a a treat to get an Anax perched for a photo, and a rare one is even better!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amazing, I never realised that the L. dryas had such a wide range! In the UK it has a very restricted population centred on two areas.
      Always difficult to get an Anax sitting still, a bit of cloud cover helps to calm them but as you say to get a rare one…
      Thanks for stopping to take a look.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How cool to record 13 on your own pond!!! How did you ever get into watching dragonflies? What a wealth of knowledge you pass on to those of us that just think it is cool that you can get them to pose for you long enough to capture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always liked watching dragons and just read up lots of books to help me identify them better. It stemmed from summer months when bird watching became quite slow before the migration period.
      Thanks for popping over CJ.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pete.
      It has to be said that there are several species north of the border I would love to see. Maybe one day before we rebuild the wall to keep you lot out 😉

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  3. Maybe the dragonfly also wanted to learn German? Your photos are gorgeous and what a nice variety of dragons and damsels. Interestingly, I’ve seen fewer at my pond this summer and I’m wondering if our horrific February storm put a dent in their overwintering population.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That would be fun a German speaking dragonfly!
      I doubt the storm would have affected the populations unless all ponds froze solid for weeks. There would not be any adults about in winter (maybe in Texas though?) so all the nymphs would have been deep down in the breeding pools keeping warm.

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      1. When I was scanning one of my Africa landscape photos yesterday, I noticed I’d caught in close-up albeit small-ly a red looking dragonfly right in the corner of the shot. Rather magical.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. First, I was enthralled at all the wonderful odes!
    Then, I started feeling sorry for myself that I haven’t found anything “new”.
    Then, I was frustrated with your in-flight Emperor photograph because my similar attempts yesterday were all out-of-focus.
    Finally, I sipped more coffee while viewing your spectacular images once again.

    All is right with the world.

    Thank you for sharing, Brian!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the visit Wally.
      I’ve been very fortunate this year with ‘new’ finds but it’s a rare event these days so don’t feel sorry for yourself, your luck will change when least expected.
      Out of focus in-flights? Tell me about it! The hit rate is abysmal! Just keep snapping.

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  5. Now that is some great tins. Your pond is really come along nicely as well! I was actually birding with Ron in Chicago last week and he noted your new post had come through – finally getting to it (connectivity still sucks) and it was worth the wait. Is there a Big Year for dragons?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure there are people in the UK who want to see all species available in a year. I know some folks do our 58 butterflies in a year, some try it every year! Need a big cheque book and a forgiving wife for that!
      Regards to Ron. You will have to tell him to slow down, the number of posts he has put out recently are difficult to keep up with 🤔🤣🤣🤣😂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep, non-listers never consider the $$$’s it takes to get those numbers up. Note, I startled my wife when I blurted out a laugh reading your last line — too funny.

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