Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A Couple of Nymph Firsts

With a quite mild afternoon, I decided after work to visit a small lake near home to see if I could find any dragonfly and damselfly nymphs. Whilst I have seen good numbers of odonata here, I have never really looked for larvae here so was interested what I would find. It wasn't long until I caught the first few Common Blue Damselfly nymphs and ended up with around 15 of these but then I caught 2 very interesting nymphs which I didn't recognise at all. They were much bigger and longer than the Common Blue Damselfly and appeared quite stripey on the abdomen. They had a very striking pattern on the caudal lamellae which most of the time can give away the identification of the species. After returning home with one of these individuals I looked at a few photos in books and the internet and confirmed the nymph as a Red eyed Damselfly, a nymph first for me with this species. I set about trying to capture a few shots as ever of this species and after setting the tank up and spending about 30 minutes firing off shots, I ended up with a few nice images of this striking damselfly nymph.

Red eyed Damselfly Nymph

My second first happened last night, the 3rd March when I went to check out one of the tanks in the evening to see if the hawker nymphs were hunting. I was amazed to see an almost white Emperor Dragonfly nymph looking at me and below it was a freshly moulted skin. Whilst I knew that dragonflies moult between 5-18 times until they are ready to emerge, I have never seen this before so was amazed to witness this for myself. Having read a little on this, the nymph is white on moulting due to the pigment not darkening yet, this often takes a few hours for this to happen. Yet another education on these superb little insects. I did try for a few shots but this tank is plastic and as the flash went off, it showed up every scratch on the surface, not very good to look at. I have removed the small skin so may try and photograph it in the next few days if I get a chance.

Red eyed Damselfly Nymph

Monday, 2 March 2015

Meet The Emperor!

After my more natural shots yesterday morning I had another session late in the afternoon with the Emperor Dragonfly nymph where I went for a 'Meet Your Neighbours Project' style. This for those that do not know is where the background is completely white and the subjects detail can be easily viewed. I spent a short while firing off a number of shots with some turning out quite nicely. 

Emperor Dragonfly Nymph

Sunday, 1 March 2015

An Emperor at Last.

With a sunny morning I decided on a visit over to Nethergong campsite to see what dragonfly larvae were on offer. I spent about an hour looking and manged to find about 10 Azure Damselfly nymphs but most importantly, a nice Emperor Dragonfly nymph of about 25mm in length. They seem to spend most of the winter time in deeper water but this one was in the margins thankfully. With this I returned home where in a nice warm conservatory I set up the tank and set about trying to get a few shots of this top predator. With friends arriving late morning I didn't have as much time as I would have wanted but I ended up with some nice detailed efforts but hopefully another session soon to see if these can be improve upon. With some good natural light today the shots were taken at f8, ISO 400 and a good speed above 250.With it being March today, it could be as little as 4/5 weeks until we see the first Large Red Damselflies emerging from my pond or tank and the season really starting. 

Emperor Dragonfly Nymph

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

That Magical Moment

I visited a site last year south of Reculver a number of times which luckily for me is only a few minutes drive from home. On a few early morning visits I hoped to find a few damselflies at rest and while searching found a number of emerging Common Darters. On subsequent visits in the next few days, I continued to see some emerge and spent some time watching this magical moment when the dragonfly emerges from the larval case. A good check of the reedy margins revealed lots of exuvia but as of yet as mentioned in my last post, I still await seeing and photographing this mostly unseen event of nature. I did manage to take a few pleasing images of one that had just emerged and it was very nice to watch it dry off and take its maiden flight as an adult dragonfly, magic!

Newly Emerged Common Darter