Damsels & Dragons

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Banded Demoiselle Warham Camp July

Throughout the summer of 2016 on my travels around Norfolk I came across many dragonfly and damselfly species.  Now I must confess I don’t really know a darter from a hawker, yes I should invest in a good field guide but a multi -coloured insect whizzing about bares no resemblance to an image in a book!  Thank goodness for cameras, by getting some good pics when they are still (not often!) I can then search the net for I.D

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Female Common Darter, Alderfen Broad. This is perhaps my favorite image of the year

It is also helpful to know some experts in this field so a big thanks to Neil Marks & Tabs Taberham for your help.

The thing with damsels and dragons is their great beauty when seen close up, this is where a good photograph is of benefit, in the field they rarely settle but get a good shot, upload, and enjoy.

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Four Spot Chaser, Holt Country Park, July

Of the species I have seen my favorite is the banded demoiselle.  It is truly beautiful with its metallic blues and greens, is large for a damsel and has a slow butterfly like flight.  Two rare species I have pictured are worth a mention.  The keeled skimmer is only found at a handful of sites in Norfolk including Buxton Heath and Holt Lowes.  I had photographed the female not knowing what it was at Buxton whilst looking for silver studded blues.  I met a couple out looking for dragonflies and showed them the image on my camera, they identified it and were somewhat upset as they had failed to see one that day – when your luck is in!

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Keeled Skimmer Buxton Heath July

The other species of note is the willow emerald damselfly.  This curious looking creature was a great rarity only a short time ago, it is now spreading westwards.  The image taken at Alderfen Broad shows a typical pose, hanging from a leaf.  What is unusual about the willow emerald is that it does not lay its eggs directly into water, instead it chooses an overhanging branch of willow or alder, lays its eggs under the bark and when the larvae emerge they fall into the water.

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Willow Emerald Alderfen Broad August
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Female Common Blue Foxley Wood July
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Migrant Hawker in my garden August
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