It is still early in the Dragonfly season, I have had several visits to my local site of Bramshill. As you are aware, I was still into my birding last month this is now slowly drifting away although not entirely forgotten. Even this week whilst out I have noticed the Hobbies are about with a fine display at Goring bridge (rail) last Saturday the (6th) in the afternoon. I was out with my son Lee.
I was hoping on a Common Clubtail (Gomphus Vulgatissimus) to appear and Lee was looking for the hobbies we were both lucky with the hobbies but the Common Clubtail still eludes me. whilst looking at the Mayflies rising I noticed a Common Clubtail in the Thames not to far from the steep embankment. finding a long stick was quite easy and I managed to get the poor subject out and onto a dry branch in the sun, to dry out it was in a sorry state and I doubt if it would of survived? I left it there on the branch without photographing it we both watched it for a while whilst looking for other subjects to turn our attention too, it did seem to pick up a little, as I have already stated, I doubt it would have survived. The area around the bridge is a popular part of the thames for dragonfly enthusiasts. I do believe that the Common Clubtails Scarcity is Part to do with the amount of boat traffic on the Thames, this particular individual most likely emerged overnight possibly the the early morning and while it was building up strength for its maiden flight the wash from a passing boat possibly knocked it off its perch.
Altogether there were four Hobbies (Falco subbuteo) and what a fine display we both had. Obviously they were after insects, unfortunately I never had a long lens with me so no photos this time I am afraid. We both ventured on up to Hartslock to check on the orchids. Due to the very dry weather there was only one Lady orchid with maybe twenty pyramidal as company. A couple of days later I checked my library images on my computer and the year previous was altogether much better. The soil being very chalky dries out very quickly on the hill, you could tell how dry the soil(chalk) was!
Moving on to the dragonfly visits at Bramshill. I have had three visits including today 10th May. the weather has been very dry and most days overcast, the occasional bright warm day has come and gone and its sod's law something has already been arranged for those days but "hey Ho" you do what you can. I have had my first glimpses of several of the earlier larger dragons i.e. Hairy dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) I even observed two scrapping in one of the ponds but this was a franetic affair which both myself and camera could not keep up with, but very nice to see! several Four Spotted Chasers (Libellula quadrimaculata) Downy Emeralds (Cordulia arena) also hunting and scrapping) Lastly this year has so far has been good for the Broad bodied chaser (Libellula Depressa) although the later so far has been females only. This season has been good thus far! I will be updating the Odonata section in the next few days. I hope you can look in again any questions please do not hesitate to contact me Kind regards Mike
MAY 18TH 2017
Hi and welcome, well we all thought the weather was was very dry with the low rainfall we have been receiving. Well what a week this has been rain rain rain with very few sunny periods but luckily I have made the most of it.
I have finally succumbed to the temptation and bit the bullet on the new Olympus OM1mk2 along with the new 12-100 f4 pro. I must be honest that I do not use wide angle lenses that much but the 100mm end should be useful. This equates to 24-200 on a full frame I will post some images later when I have used it more. I have however used the EM1mk2 for a few frames and some of them have been for BIF nothing to serious at the time of this blog.
So how is the odonata doing. I have had two trips this week to Bramshill, due to the inclement weather I believe the season is holding up well. I have some images of a Black tailed skimmer male (below) teneral which looking back over my catalogue is indeed the earliest example to date. I managed to scare several Downy emeralds to flight which was probably their maiden voyage whilst there brethren have been ovidepositing. The Four spotted chasers are maturing well and I am recognising them settling into into their normal habits around the ponds
The damselflies are increasing well with Red eyed appearing and mating, also the Large red in tandem depositing more and more common blue damselflies are emerging. I have included a couple of images below of the same individual. I started to take the image whilst it was near to its exuviae but gradually moved away nearer the tip of the plant, the newly emerged Tenerals a quite comical in so far as they hide away from you thinking you cannot see them, therefore quite a bit of manoeuvring is needed to get a shot,
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