Sunday, June 24, 2007

White-legged Damselfly, Elton Water Meadows

The awful weather predicted for today didn't look like it was going to materialise, and needing a break from work on the book (Watching British Dragonflies) I decideed to go and look at some live beasties for a couple of hours.

The Natural Stone had seen two of my fave odonates, White-legged Damselfly and Scarce Chaser, near his home in Elton which ain't too far from the house. I see Scarce Chaser annually at Woodwalton Fen NNR, but I have to travel further afield for White-legged Damsels, so scoring the latter in particualar would be sweet.

Immature female (form lactea) White-legged Damselfly. The white legs are very obvious, but they are not swollen like the males, which are spectacular, especially when he is displayin. Alas all the adults, inc. a handful of males, were all very active and camera shy!

Alas no Scarce Chasers seen, but plenty of White-legged Damsels, most of them (95%+) where the above young female form lactea.

Banded Demoiselles, Elton Water Meadows

Adult female. Amzing how the false, or psuedo-, pterostigma can disappear from some angles.

Adult female. Here the psuedo-ptrostigma is clearly visible.

Adult male. Look how the blue panel in the wing looks black from this angle.

Adult male. With the light directly on the insect the true colour of the panel and the wing venation and structure is easier to see.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dorset, 8-15 June

The week saw me retreat to Dorset with Liz and mum-in-law Elsie. The plan was whilst they were out playing I would be working on my forthcoming dragonfly book, Watching British Dragonflies.

The Music Room at Little Woolgarston - our terrific home for the week - and just a short walk along the downs from Corfe Castle (and the NT tea garden for sticky treats!).

Some gorgeous fungi near the cottage.

I decided to take the trap to help de-stress between spells of working on the book and it paid great dividends. V Moth - new for me

Foxglove Pug

Green Pug

Small Elephant Hawkmoth

A visit to the Middlebeare and Arne area. This is Hartland NNR - a great area for drags - and lived up to expectations with 11 species in one afternoon between here and Arne. Liz and I also managed a breif but good view of a Sand Lizard at Arne which typically scarpered before the camera could be engaged!

Buck Sika Deer at Arne

Doe Sika Deer at Arne

Sundew on Middlebeare

Common Lizard at Arne

Common Lizard close up!

Quad (Four-spotted Chaser)

Small Red Damselfly - in all its finery

Female Keeled Skimmer

A teneral male Emerald Damselfy

Male Emperor dragonfly

A teneral male Common Darter

Female Broad-bodied Chaser

Side view of the BBC

Dyrad's Saddle Polyporus squamosus - a bracket fungus with funky English and scientific names!

Back at the ranch, Liz found this Nuthatch preening on an open branch about 12m away

And so to bed for the wee Nutter

Challard Down running east from Corfe Castle and just north of the cottage

Pyramidal Orchid - typical of chalk downland

Male Common Blue

Pyramidal Orchid - the white form

Returning to the cottage we found a hornet in the living room on two different days.

Eyed Hawkmoth

Side view of the curvey Eyed HM.

Barred Yellow roosting under a birch branch near the trap.

The beautifully named Brussels Lace - a new moth for me - roosting on the trunk of a birch tree near the cottage