Sunday, 19 October 2014

Some More Nymph Dilemma's

I spent about an hour near Reculver this morning seeing what dragonfly and damselfly larvae I could catch. I caught a number of damselfly larvae, probably Blue tailed Damselfly although trying to identify something so small is quite a challenge. I also caught what I believe is either a Common or Ruddy Darter, more than likely Common. The legs extending well beyond the abdomen and the head tapering in towards the rear point me to this conclusion. It was only about 5mm long, a very tricky subject to photograph and get much detail on.

Common / Ruddy Darter Nymph?

The other find I think maybe a Black tailed Skimmer, about 10mm in length, the main reason leading me to this being the rectangular shaped head as viewed from above. I took a few photos of them both and hope someone can confirm what they are.

Black tailed Skimmer Nymph?

The Darter even deciding to photo bomb one attempt as I was taking a shot of the Skimmer, a nice comparison though in size and body shape etc.

Common / Ruddy Darter & Black tailed Skimmer?

Its tricky work but thoroughly enjoyable, learning hopefully all the time. Depending on the weather I shall hopefully be out in the week, a few pond sessions at Nethergong are on the cards with my eldest daughter seemingly quite good at catching them, good for me though as it gives me more time to set up and take photos.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A 'Challenge' Nearer to Home!

With my growing interest in dragonflies and damselflies this year continuing and my latest pursuits of dragonfly larvae I thought I would make a small pond in my garden to see if I could attract any odonata next year and maybe raise a few larvae through the winter in there. I managed to find a bit of land that the kids didn't want to use, the rest of the garden having various trampolines, etc in there. After receiving a preformed plastic pond liner I set about digging the shape out and adding a few rocks etc. Its only about a metre and a half in length and nearly a metre wide but hopefully it will do the job I wish it to perform. The overall target is to witness the larvae of damselflies climbing up the stems and hatching out with me being able to capture the sequence on the camera, with a nice cup of tea and chair next to me of course! I would like to rear some hawker larvae in there but it may be too small for them but maybe I will have a go next year when its more established.

The 'New' Pond

Anyway its something to look forward to and i'm sure the kids will be interested with other insects etc that turn up as well. If you have any advise on how to improve it then please let me know. I made a quick trip out this afternoon to see what was on the wing. It was quite dull and cloudy and I only spent a few minutes looking. All I saw were a few Common Darter and 1 Common Blue Damselfly. I think they are really hanging on now and I hope this is not the last sighting I have of one this year.

Common Blue Damselfly

Hopefully they have had a good season and the water and grasses will be alive with them next year. Weather permitting and with one of my daughters on half term with me next week, we will do a bit of pond dipping to see what larvae we can find.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Willows in the Sunshine

We are lucky here in Kent to still have one of the rarest damselflies still on the wing, the Willow Emerald Damselfly. Even better still is that they are only a few minutes drive from where I live so with a warm sunny October afternoon today I took a drive over to Reculver to see if I could find any. After parking up and a short walk I was in the area where it was noticeable that a good number of Common Darter were on the wing. I counted c30 Common Darter but I suspect there are lots more in the surrounding ditches that go unseen. There were a few Migrant Hawker flying around and it was nice to see c12 Common Blue Damselfly hanging on. I checked a sheltered sunny area and scanning the edge of the branches I soon come across 6 Willow Emerald Damselfly at rest, their familiar 45 degree pose giving them away. Fortunately a few individuals were low down and wanted their photo taken and I spent about an hour firing off a few hundred shots of these little beauties.

Male Willow Emerald Damselfly

From time to time they would chase each other and seemed to want to use the top of my head as a look out. I only found males, no females, I hope they were about maybe egg laying. Thankfully this species does allow you to get close to them and often return to the same perch which is most helpful. With plenty of shots which I can also use throughout the colder months when the season ends and a good study of this species I left them to go about their business. My kidney shaped pond arrived the other day so hopefully I can make a start in the garden tomorrow and get digging, the plan being to introduce a few larvae that may emerge next year and hopefully attract a few dragonflies and damselflies next year.

Male Willow Emerald Damselfly

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Gone But Not Forgotten!

After a brief walk at Reculver this morning where the notebook wasn't troubled at all the clouds rolled in early afternoon at home which gave me another chance to look through some images taken throughout the year. I must have taken hundreds of the Norfolk Hawkers at Westbere this year and spent many hours trying to capture them at rest, in flight and mating with some pleasing outcomes The results were lots of shots on memory sticks that hopefully as the cold winter approaches I can look through and find a few to post and remember those warm sunny days back in the summer! Hopefully this species will have another good year at Westbere next year, it certainly looks promising for the near future.

Norfolk Hawker