Monday, 27 June 2016

Brilliant Emerald

My last photograph of the day. It wasn't the Club-tailed Dragonfly that I had been looking for, but I was more than happy to find this Brilliant Emerald. It was on the northern side of the new Stopham Bridge and it wasn't in an easy location to photograph.  I tried a few flight shots but it was just too fast for me.

It did eventually land and I managed to get the shot above but this involved leaning out over some deep water to get the angle and in so doing putting some expensive camera gear at high risk. I would have liked more pictures but fortunately it flew before I had a chance to do something stupid.

The day had started at Pulborough Brooks with a stop to check the heathland pools. The sun had been forecast for 0900 but when I arrived at 11.30 it was still overcast and there were only a few damselflies in the air.

Azure Damselfly

I searched the bushes around the top pool and found a couple of female Darters resting up and waiting for the sun to appear. I wasn't too confident on the species at the time but checking the books at home these were Ruddy Darters.

Female Ruddy Darter

With the sun then putting in a brief appearance I managed to find a couple more on the Black Pool but this time with males in attendance. These are not showing the deeper red of a mature specimen so have probably only recently emerged.

They are easily confused with the Common Darter but commons would be showing yellow stripes along the legs.

Male Ruddy Darter

Black Pool also had a good quota of the Four-spotted Chasers, probably the easiest of all the dragonflies to photograph.

Back up the hill to the top pool and I was fortunate to find a pair of Emperor Dragonflies, the female ovipositing and the male appearing to be keeping guard on her.

Female Emperor

Male Emperor

 Or perhaps he had been a busy boy as a second female then appeared. This one with a notch in its left forewing and with different colouration, showing more green in segments one and two, and more extensive brown markings on the other segments. 

I am aware that the blue/green markings on both male and female are temperature dependant but this is the first time I have noted the colour difference on two specimens flying together.

Female Emperor showing green colouration

Other insects of interest on the day, a Large Skipper and a Silver Y moth, both of which were first sightings of the year for me.

Silver Y Moth

Large Skipper

I had only gone out for a couple of hours to try out a new lens so was quite happy to be going home with a decent selection of Dragonfly shots.

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