Thursday, 21 April 2016

A Variable Damselfly Emerges.

After getting up early this morning before work to check the pond, I noticed a small damselfly nymph starting to climb up one of the stems in the pond I had placed there. I already had the camera and everything prepared and hoped that I could settle down and have time to photograph the emergence before I had to go to work. Thankfully, luck was on my side and I just about had time to do this and get ready for work. What I did notice this time was that the damselfly was not a Large Red Damselfly and was either going to be an Azure or Variable but with its Caudal Lamellae missing, I was going to have to wait until it had emerged to find out. I spent the next hour and a half laying on my belly watching and photographing this fascinating sight and managed to capture a number of photos of each stage. Finally after the damselfly had emerged I was able to use the 10x field lens to get a few features and I come to the conclusion that it was a Variable Damselfly, the first time I have photographed the emergence of this species. If I am wrong please correct me but the distinctive shape of the pronotum could be seen along with the bar in between the post-ocular spots on the head. This bar I believe is lacking in the Azure Damselfly. A bit rushed at times but a great start to the day and hopefully if some better weather arrives soon, we may have the first Hairy Dragonflies emerging any day now.

'Newly Emerged' Variable Damselfly (male)

Saturday, 16 April 2016

An Hour at the Pond

With some pleasant sunshine at times this morning but the temperatures remaining quite cold, I decided as I had an hour or so to myself to take a few photos of one of the Large Red Damselflies at the pond. Knowing it wasn't going to fly anywhere, I was able to remove the stem it was on and insert onto some plasticine and give myself a nice clean background of the grass. For most of the winter months I have been using the in camera flash and today was no exception. Although it was quite bright, my efforts using AV mode, f8, ISO 400 did not work out to plan and I ended up with some dark, cold efforts. It was back to manual mode, f8-11, ISO 400 and speed set to 250 and with the added flash, I ended up with the desired detailed shots. I'm hoping with the better lighting soon that I can revert back to the trusty AV mode to provide most of my shots. I think it will take a while to back back into the swing of things as far as settings and field craft go but its all part of the learning curve to success. 

Large Red Damselfly (male)

Thursday, 14 April 2016

A Good Start to the Season

Its always nice to capture pleasing photos of the different species of dragonflies and damselflies that I encounter throughout the year and the welcome comments I receive on the blog but as well as this, its always a pleasure when some of your photos get published in a national magazine. This week, I received my copy of 'Dragonfly News', the magazine of the British Dragonfly Society. I was delighted to see that not only had I got a photo and mention on the front cover but I also had a double page spread showcasing some of my photos from the past couple of years. A nice reward indeed for the many hours that are put in with the various species. Many thanks to the British Dragonfly Society for publishing them, much appreciated. On another note, I have had a few more Large Red Damselfly emerge in the past few days in the pond and seen a few of the Hairy Dragonfly nymphs starting to spend more time in the shallows. Exciting times ahead I hope!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

'Patch Tick' at Reculver

I was up and out of the house this morning at 5am where I was greeted by a frosty car and after clearing the windscreen, I made my way over to Reculver where the plan was to drive around the lanes and try to get a Nightingale singing. Despite stopping off a various locations, I failed to hear any but it was pleasing to hear the dawn chorus waking up wherever I stopped to listen. As the light picked up I made my way to the towers and parked up and then spent the next 3 hours or so walking down the seawall and inland to Chambers Wall before checking the bushes on my way back. The weather was absolutely superb, very light winds and bright sunshine for most of the visit although at first it was very chilly on the hands. Birds noted today included 1 Red legged Partridge, 2 Common Buzzard, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Black Redstart still singing from the towers, 17 Shelduck, 4 Stock Dove, 1 Little Owl, c80 Cormorant, 5 Pheasant, 5 Reed Bunting, 10 Redshank, c15 Oystercatcher, 12 Turnstone, 1 Rock Pipit and as I scanned the Oyster Farm, I picked out a Short eared Owl sitting on a post which was a welcome surprise. Better was to come when I picked out 3 birds flying west at distance which I could see were geese. Through the binoculars I could make out large white wing flashes and quickly taking a few record shots of them, I was able to confirm that they were 3 Egyptian Geese, a patch tick for me. Moving on in a somewhat good mood I added 3 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 1 Yellowhammer, 2 Curlew, 1 Wheatear, 1 Peregrine, 1 dark bellied Brent Goose, 3 Sedge Warbler and 3 singing Chiffchaff. I spent some time taking a few photos of some more Wrens and although I still haven't got the required shots, I ended up with a couple of pleasing efforts. Other bits noted were 1 Green Woodpecker, 4 Swallow, 1 Marsh Harrier, 4 Sand Martin, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Lapwing and as I arrived back at the towers, I could hear a Coal Tit calling and soon located it on top of a tree at the towers. Unfortunately, as I got the camera on to it, some cyclists appeared and it flew off high east down the seawall. A nice finish to another pleasant session made all the better with a patch tick. Back to work tomorrow but hopefully if anything good arrives in the week, I may be able to get out to have a look.