Sunday, 26 May 2013

And They're Off . . . .

The 2013 Dragon Hunting season officially got underway today with many Azure damselflies (Coenagrion puella) on the wing at Far Pasture.

A scouting mission to Clockburn Lake outlet stream had produced nothing yesterday despite the sunshine but with another sun-soaked day today I couldn't resist an hour down Far Pasture late morning, and it proved worthwhile as I found around two dozen Azure damselflies, a mix of both male and female in various stages of maturity to kick off the dragon hunting season for 2013.

All specimens were found away from the pond on the low greenery around the car park and access road opposite. It wasn't easy getting photos leaning over a fence topped with barbed wire but I snapped away just happy to get a few record shots, most turned out as expected (ie crap) but one or two were half decent showing a lot of interesting features. So here goes :

Not a good picture but first damsel of the year -
an immature female azure, a very pale lilac at the moment
but will develop into the typical green form.  

A teneral female azure -
note the very pale, almost grey colouring and
milky wings of a freshly emerged individual.

Another imm. female azure of the typical green form. Though they all begin
adult life as a pale lilac, this one will no doubt develop as green as the abdominal
segments are solid black along the back with only dividing lines showing.

This female is maturing nicely into the lesser-seen blue form. Note that on the
blue form small bands of colour shows between the black abdominal
segments. Only around 10% of females are of this form.  

The first male azure seen. The abdomen is
nicely turning blue but the thorax is still pale lilac

Another male of similar age to the last, note the red eyes in the immature.

This specimen almost fully mature, tail band is getting its blue colouration
now and eyes are black.

This one had me fooled, I thought it was a blue-tail when I took it
but obviously it's just another male azure. 

This specimen looked to be about fully mature so must have
emerged almost a fortnight ago. 

Nice to get a shot from a different angle. Too far away for
a great close-up of the face though. 

Another quirky shot to finish.

So it's a start, great to see them back. As usual I'll be trying to hunt down all 16 regular Gateshead species and anything new I can get on my travels (dare I hope for better weather than last year.)
But in the main I'll be recording from my local sites, hopefully with a new super-macro lens for some cracking close-ups.


  1. HOORAH !!!
    I was expecting (hoping really) for some Odonata emergence with the "better" weather. Up Harthope Valley the last couple of days so didn't expect much personally although my sparring partner did have a teneral damsel briefly while watching Ring Ousels.
    Fabulous post by the way. Enjoyed the comments on each of the images.
    Here's to a better year after the last two.

  2. Cheers Johnny, and I'll drink to that (and believe me I can drink;)

  3. Super macro lens :0 look forward to macro shots :)