Monday, 19 May 2014

First Flights . . . .

Luvverly day today and with me having been struck down with the lurgey for the last few days I thought a bit of fresh air might do me good (plus the fact I couldn't be arsed to do anything constructive).

So I had a hike up to Gibside to see if there was anything out up there.
Checked the Walled Garden Pond first and after clocking a few large red damsels as I stood at the fence, a teneral dragonfly made its maiden flight past me, a Four-spotted Chaser no doubt but though I tried to track it with my bins it kept going and I lost sight of it. Shame that, would have been a first if I'd managed a photograph.

Encouraged by that I stuck around a while, more large reds and a few distant blues, more maiden flights, by damsels though, but no more dragons.

So I moved on to the Lily Pond, my favourite of the Gibside ponds, and the place was teeming with damselflies, though only two species on show, large red and azure, and it looked like a good day for emergence, so many tenerals fluttering up from the long grass skirting the pond.

The reds had obviously been out for some time, as they were all fully mature, many in tandem and a few ovipositing.
I made a good search of the surroundings hoping to stumble across a Four-spot but I'm afraid my luck was out today.

My best shot of a Large Red male today . . .

. . . and my best shot of a Large Red female. 

Some of the many teneral and immature Azure damsels at the Lily Pond.
From the top - male, female (blue form), female (green form)

Shot of the day - male Azure damsel munching on a greebly 

Closer still for a bit of gore :-)

Can honestly say I've never seen so many damsels out this early, remembering last year there were none 'til May 26th, despite numerous searches of many sites, so hopefully it's going to be as good a year for dragons as it has been so far for butterflies.

Approx totals :

Walled Garden Pond : 20+ Large Red damsels (including 6 tandem pairs), 12 Blues (presumed azure) 6 adult 6 teneral, 1 Four-spotted Chaser (teneral)

Lily Pond : Large Reds 50+ mature adults (c10 tandem pairs, 3 ovipositing) 50+ Azure damsels (20+ tenerals) 3 exuvia found. 


  1. Brilliant.
    I can think of nothing nicer than walking by the edge of a pond with lush vegetation round it and hundreds of gossamer winged tenerals rising around you and heading for the safety of deeper vegetation.
    I have to admit that i haven't had a damsel never mind Dragon yet when i've been out, but i haven't been looking specifically yet.

    1. Cheers John, yes most enjoyable. I've been looking early 'cos I realised for most species I hardly get a shot of emerging/teneral/immatures so that's what I'm trying to target in the early season, and like I said they're out in numbers much earlier than last year :-)