Thursday, 18 June 2015

Today I met my Waterloo

On the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo I was hoping for better weather for my first day out since last Friday, but despite the less than ideal conditions I still went out dragonhunting, In the event I didn't need my 'Wellingtons' but was almost 'Blownapart' by the winds (sorry, best I could do)
Ever the optimist I took my sunglasses out with me, but ended up wishing I'd taken my gloves.

Far Pasture was the venue, I've been busting a gut to have another look on Pond3 since my last visit but first had a look at the forbidden pond which now has no water in it whatsoever, just a bit of mud in one corner, otherwise it's 'boney' dry.

I did find a couple of blue-tailed damsels and an azure in the surrounds, one a particularly striking rufescens form, though it was so overcast the resulting photos hardly did her justice.

The most colourful form of immature
blue-tailed damselfly resembling a British
Infantryman with red tunic and black trousers
Pond3 was also inevitably devoid of dragonflies, though I did track down a few more blue-tails (a species which tolerates cool conditions better than the other damsels) in the marginal vegetation.

A sheltering male blue-tail sporting the blue
of the French Army

A brief skirmish with an unidentified beetle

I searched sheltered areas but to no avail until a tall clump near the road turned out to be a bit of a refuge for azure damsels, with 8 counted taking cover from the elements.

That was that, an hour on site and I'd had enough. I shouldn't have bothered really but 6 days cooped up at home is enough for anybody. I fled the battlefield, defeated.

Back at home, sad news that the greenhouse Garden Bumblebee nest has failed as the queen was found dead, after four weeks of continuous comings and goings to her nest under a flagstone she succumbed without a worker ever emerging, another defeated Emperor.

The expired queen Garden Bumblebee
Bombus Hortorum 

The long face, a diagnostic feature which separates
them from the very similar (round faced) Heath Bumblebee 

Better news on the bee front, despite a few dead 'uns scattered around, the Tree Bumblebees in the garage roof are thriving, and the noises from the nest in the attic are keeping me awake at night, with more sudden loud buzzes than an episode of University Challenge. Glad they only last the one summer.

Sienna thorax, black abdomen tipped white
A Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum

This species only colonised the UK in 2001, but has spread
rapidly now into most of England and Wales
Commonly nests in buildings (don't I know it)

Would have been great if I could have photographed an Emperor on Waterloo day but to be honest I was lucky to get the few I did. Hoping for better weather next week as the short-range forecast just looks like more of the same. Come on Summer !!


  1. Got a few nice images of the Rufescens 'British Infantryman' myself yesterday Alan :-)

    1. So I see, very smart, and photographed with the usual military precision :-)

  2. A nother
    B loody
    B rilliant
    A nicdotal post Alan.

  3. Nice one John. Been interested in the Napoleonic wars since my wargaming days as a kid, couldn't let the anniversary go by without a mention. Nice to know my paltry efforts are appreciated. :-)