Monday, 9 May 2016

Almost Missed the Kick Off

Have had three looks at local ponds during the last week without any success, my prediction of 'Out by Friday' was off mark but with the sun beating down again it had to be today.

I trekked up to Thornley Woods Pond in searing heat mid-morning, and was like sweaty betty when I got there (two shirts was one too many). I began searching the margins for emerging damsels and Bingo! the southeast corner of the pond had a fully formed female on an open stalk, so out came the camera, switch on, but nothing, the XS-1 was dead :-O

I knew the problem straight away, "What a pillock."
I'd changed the battery just before I came out, but now remembered I hadn't bothered charging the spare when it conked out last time. Contemplating my next move I continued scouring the margins, and discovered another damsel on the surface of the pond, motionless and covered in pond skaters. I fished it out just in case there was any chance of it surviving and left it to dry but could see it was too late.
A couple of exuvia, then a couple more. Dammit, I was going to have to go home again and replace the dud battery with the other dud battery which I'd left charging. So another 20 minute yomp in sweltering heat meant by the time I got home I was like sweaty betty's even sweatier sister (Hetty?).
A quick change of shirt(s), even quicker spruce up and replace the battery in the camera and I was ready to go again, but sod walking it, I got the bus back to Thornley.

As expected when I got to the pond, my first of the year had flown, and sweaty betty was replaced by sweary mary for a few seconds. I whipped off a few shots of the exuvia I'd found earlier, and the deceased damsel I'd fished out of the pond, then tried to find another emerger.

2 large red exuvia, the occupants already flown 

Another 2 exuvia mid-pond 

The unfortunate Large Red male, must've fell into the water
and had the life sucked out of him by a mob of pondskaters

And just when I thought I was out of luck, I spied a damsel on the erumpent grasses at the north end. Out in the open but just too far out for me to get real close, I did the best I could at shaky full zoom for the most part and here are the best of an iffy bunch for starters.

Emerging Large Red damsel, not the first of 2016 but the first photographed

Approaching carefully reveals it is a male

And here he is in close-up with his exuvia

Once more from the top

After that 'success' I tried Far Pasture for azures as they were out first last year, and a day earlier than this. On the way felt my lower back was very wet, 'couldn't be that sweaty' I thought and sure enough checked to find my water bottle had exploded in my backpack, luckily all my vital equipment was dangling around my neck at the time. I must've done something to upset the karma as this sort of thing is happening too often at the moment.
A good search of the far Pasture area came to nothing though. I took a snap of the 'new' forbidden pond, I'm thinking it looks far too deep for the chasers now, but time will tell.

Gone is the shallow pond the broad-bodied Chasers liked so much, and gone are the eggs and larvae
from last year as it was all dredged out and taken away Why?
So don't know if we'll see any this year, time will tell, hope I'm wrong :-(

At least I'm off the mark, and as I most likely won't be out again until the weekend I'll be a bit disappointed if there aren't any azures around by my next visit.

Large Reds; great to have you back :-)


  1. ALL your vital equipment was dangling around your neck !!!!! Did you have a further accident you haven't mentioned !!! A right how do you do and no mistake.

    1. Yeah I've been overdoing the facelifts and now I've got a readymade collar and tie.