Thursday, 20 June 2013

Dragonflies and Damselflies

I know very little about Dragonflies and Damselflies but I am keen to learn. They are one of the key indicators that summer has arrived. They are colourful, fascinating to watch, and great to photograph. They are also about on hot summer days when most of the birds are on siesta time.

These are a few pictures taken on a couple of days out when the birding was a bit slow. I must confess that until recently I only knew these as red, blue, or green, with perhaps a fat or thin descriptor to help differentiate between them. Although I could probably have told you the difference between the Dragonfly and the Damselfly. I have now invested in the "Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland" and will be attempting to put a name to all the species that I photograph. Please feel free to correct any mistakes I may make.

The following pictures were taken on the 19th June on Iping Common, Ambersham Common, and at Lords Piece.

Broad-bodied Chaser

Broad-bodied Chaser
Broad-bodied Chaser

The Chasers are a fairly easy dragonfly to photograph. They patrols a small area of the pond bank to defend it against other males, but are happy to sit out on a suitable perch where they can observe their territory. This gives good opportunities to get close.

The blue looks a lot deeper in real life.

Four-spotted Chaser

Four-spotted Chaser
Four-spotted Chaser

Large Red Damselfly with prey
Blue-tailed Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly
Azure Damselfly

The next few pictures are of the two species of Demoiselles in the UK. They were taken by the road bridge just below the weir on the Cuckmere River close to Arlington Reservoir. The two species should really be in different habitats with the Beautiful favouring fast flowing, clean, pebble or sand bottomed streams and the banded slow flowing, muddy bottomed streams or rivers. Previous years I have only seen the banded here but the river does seem to be running higher and faster this year.

Banded Demoiselle ( I think! )
Banded Demoiselle
Beautiful Demoiselle

Beautiful Demoiselle in flight

A great start to the dragonfly season. A life list, year list, and Sussex list are already starting to form and the Sussex commons provided some of the best habitats in the country. They will fill the summer months when the birding starts to slow and along with the butterflies I now have an excuse to put off all the DIY jobs for a bit longer.

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