Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sentinels at the Forgotten Meadow . . .

Was taking my exhibition down at Washington Wildfowl Centre today so looked in on the 'Forgotten Meadow' pond which is small but good for dragons.

Today a few male common blue damsels and plenty of azures, good number of tandem pairs, many of which were ovipositing on floating and submerged aquatic vegetation with the male standing to attention in the 'sentinel' position, guarding the female as she laid her eggs.

THE SENTINEL

The only other damsel to catch my eye was this orange/yellow individual ovipositing alone. I only managed one shot before she disappeared and it isn't the best :

Note the very inconspicuous antehumeral stripes,
ruling out both common blue and azure 
But good enough to confirm yet another variation of the blue-tailed damselfly, a mature female of the colour form infuscans-obsoleta, meaning she started adult life as a pink/red rufescens form like I photographed at far pasture the other week. And unlike most other damsels, the female blue-tail oviposits alone, usually late in the day when the males aren't so active, so I was quite fortunate to capture this event in the early afternoon.

The blue-tails are fast becoming one of my favourite damsels, so many colour variations to go at and they are so unlike other damsels in many respects. For instance they will mate after just 3 or 4 days while still in immature colouration. Probably just as well as it's reckoned their average lifespan is just 10 days though they can live for up to 8 weeks. And they're one of the easiest to observe as they develop, tending to stick to the waterways all their adult life, flying low amongst the vegetation, and will fly in cool and overcast conditions while most other species sit it out til the sun shines. Like them a lot.

Just one more picture to finish off, something different, a nice colourful composition of a bumble bee :
Bombus pratorum (I think)

      

4 comments:

  1. Education as ever Alan, excellent blog!

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  2. So much information...excellent.
    I don't know if you know of Banks Pond (just outside Dinnington) but it has beautiful clear water and lush vegetation, fantastic fer Dragons. Yesterday had more than 30 4-spots (probably more, so much activity and movement) flashes of a couple of Emperor and god knows how many Damsels (too preoccupied with Dragons to check out) Only had limited time there but must get back to spend more time to check out everything. WEATHER PERMITTING. That would be my blogger name if I did a Dragons and Butters only blog !!!!

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  3. Cheers Chaps, I just learn as I go and share my findings on here, nice to know it's appreciated by other like-minded souls.
    Banks Pond sounds good John, probably a bit like Kibblesworth in Gateshead where I'll be trying to get in the next week or so for 4-spots, Emperor and Black-tailed Skimmer, but yes 'weather pemitting' would make a good motto for the BDS !

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  4. I know Kibblesworth well. I had trips there pencilled in a dozen times or more last summer and cancelled all buy one. Weather did not permit Dragoning !!

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