Sunday, 7 June 2015

Not so Common Blue

Hardly slept last night and felt proper grotty this morning so went out for a bit of fresh air after the kids had been fed and watered, lovely sunny morning if a tad windy so Far Pasture beckoned for another crack at the broad-bodied Chasers.

Alas, the ringers had their nets up at the Forbidden Pond so it was out of bounds, so after a quick and fruitless look on the main pond I walked back to the gate and watched the feeding swifts for a while, great to see so many, swooping down low as well, probably bad news for a few damsels, and the odd bit of screaming was a joy to the ears, one of the quintessential sounds of summer.

As the atmosphere warmed up, more and more azure damsels appeared at the roadside. Now mostly fully mature there was a lot of coupling going on and a few posed nicely for the camera, though I spent more time just watching proceedings rather than snapping away (damselfly dogging?)

There were also a smattering of immature Blue-tails to be found amongst the vegetation, I took a few record shots but again mainly spent the time looking at them in great detail with the new Papilios, as now I can identify just about everything without having to snap first and ID later.

A teneral female blue-tailed, with full antehumeral stripes so most likely
develop into a violacea form immature

Another female, an immature looking to be a typica form when mature 

I was looking for something different but had all but given up hope, then spied a blue damsel skimming the surface of the road and alighting here and there. The Azures were sticking religiously to the roadside plants and if traversing the road would do it quickly at a greater height, this 'skimming' damsel was behaving differently so was most likely a different species I thought. A couple of record shots from distance in case it flew up again, then just my luck a car came past and it was gone, but on review my viewfinder revealed it to be a nice mature Common Blue male, first one at Far Pasture this year and indeed a first for 2015 for yours truly.

Common Blue damsel male - first I've seen this year, so much for being common
It was a good 20 minutes before it re-appeared and I got a few more shots but it wasn't very approachable so no more than record shots again.

Subtle differences from the azure, a lot bluer thorax, mushroom shape on s2,
no black on s9 of the abdomen
Next up was a cracking male Large Red, again the only one on site and a superb mature specimen, a lot more approachable than the blue had been so I got some decent shots . . .

Mature male, a striking black and red 

Note the deep red eyes and red antehumeral stripes as opposed to
the brown eyes and yellow stripes of the immature


. . . and watched him catch and eat his lunch through the Papilios, more gore than a late night film on the horror channel, superb!

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