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Dragonfly and Damselfly Pics 2015

/Migrant Hawker Migrant Hawker, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

19 September 2015

Worryingly there were even lower water levels today.

Despite this there were about six Migrant Hawkers around.
Migrant Hawkers Migrant Hawker, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

19 September 2015

A copulating couple.

There can't be much more of this generally poor dragonfly season left...
Migrant Hawker Migrant Hawker, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

6 September 2015

Dreadfully low water levels today - the best pool is in severe danger of drying out completely.

But at least a few Migrant Hawkers were around including this obliging individual.
Migrant Hawker Migrant Hawker, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

6 September 2015

The same individual settled.  
Common Darter Common Darter, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

6 September 2015

One of several present.
Southern Migrant Hawker Southern Migrant Hawker, Wat Tyler CP, Essex

15 August 2015

There were none showing over their favourite pond near the Marina today and we learnt than none had been seen since the previous Saturday. We were however very lucky to find this one settled in a hedge facing the adjacent car park. It wasn't in the best location for photography though!
Southern Migrant Hawker Southern Migrant Hawker, Wat Tyler CP, Essex

15 August 2015

The exact details of this unusual insect had me puzzled until expert Richard Lewington provided the answers.

The double appendages show this is a female, yet it has the male blue eyes, spots etc, yet the abdomen is brown not black as in a male. The explanation for this strange mixture is that females are known to take on male colouration - as mentioned in the European guide by Dijkstra and Lewington.

So not only is this a very rare dragonfly in Britain, it is a female (which are seldom seen) in an unusual form!
Southern Migrant Hawker Southern Migrant Hawker, Wat Tyler CP, Essex

15 August 2015

This side view shows the fine markings on the side of thorax that are diagnostic of A. affinis (Southern Migrant Hawker) as well as the relatively short appendages - another characteristic feature, also shown well in the photo above. The ovipositor can also be seen confirming it is a female.
Common Blue Damselfly, Lower Windrush Valley Gravel Pits, Oxon

8 August 2015

Not a lot else was presenting itself for photography today!

Click to enlarge
Small Red eyed Damselfly Probable Small Red eyed Damselfly, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

1 August 2015

Without any colouration it is difficult to sure of the identification of this very recently emerged damselfly - with the exuvia still present.

However judging by the increasing numbers of Small Red eyed Damselflies present on this site (at least 12 today), I strongly suspect it is one of those.

The water levels were even lower today than on my last visit in July.
Small Red eyed Damselfly Small Red eyed Damselfly, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

18 July 2015

This species was the main reason for my trip to this site. It was good to find them again - they have now been present annually since 2006 at least.

However with the present very low water levels there is a risk of their favourite pool drying out which would be disastrous for them, I presume. 
Broad bodied Chaser Broad bodied Chaser, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

18 July 2015

Not easy to get to with the low water levels and muddy edges!
Blue tailed Damselfly Blue tailed Damselfly, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

18 July 2015

This suddenly appeared in front of me while I was lining up for the SRE Damsel (see above), so it was worth a quick snap!
Small Red Damselfly Small Red Damselfly, Cothill Fen NNR, Oxon

18 July 2015

Cothill is the only site in Oxon for this species. There were several present today, but the breezy conditions were not helpful for photography, keeping these tiny insects quite low down in the vegetation.

Click to enlarge
White legged Damselfly White-legged Damselfly, Goring Railway Bridge, River Thames, Oxon

10 July 2015

Too late for Club-tails today but there were a few White-legs to be found in the fisherman's bays along the meadow north of the bridge. They was not easy to photograph though, being only just above the water which was well below the bank...

Click to enlarge
Brilliant Emerald Brilliant Emerald, Esher Common, Surrey

4 July 2015

The little bay at the south west corner of Black Pond provided some reasonable photo opportunities today - and an improvement on my only previous photo of this elusive species in 2013.

There was unfortunately considerable disturbance from dog walkers who use this area for doggy water sports.
Red eyed Damselfly Red eyed Damselfly, River Thames, Barton Fields, Abingdon

13 June 2015

Unusually almost at eye level - seen while on the hunt for the Variables (see below).
Variable Damselfly Variable Damselfly, River Thames, Barton Fields, Abingdon

13 June 2015

Thanks to Martin Wackenier for reporting his first sighting on the early date of 17 May. This is a new site for Variable Damselfly in the county, where it is extremely localised with very few recent records.

Despite the poor conditions this afternoon, David Hastings and I managed to find 2-3 adjacent to the small lake next the river.

Click to enlarge
Variable Damselfly Variable Damselfly, River Thames, Barton Fields, Abingdon

13 June 2015

Another view from above.
Variable Damselfly Variable Damselfly, River Thames, Barton Fields, Abingdon

13 June 2015

The side view!
Hairy Dragonfly Hairy Dragonfly, Otmoor, Oxon

6 June 2015

There were several Hairies along the Roman Road this afternoon and unusually they were being reasonably obliging.

This pic shows quite nicely where their name comes from!
Hairy Dragonfly Hairy Dragonfly, Otmoor, Oxon

6 June 2015

Another view.
Hairy Dragonfly Hairy Dragonfly, Otmoor, Oxon

6 June 2015

The head-on shot - not too difficult with the 180mm macro. It appeared to be eating something at the time, but nothing is obviously showing here.
Four Spotted Chaser Four Spotted Chaser, Shellingford Pit, Oxon

30 May 2015

Another one - in a sheltered location out of the cold wind. 
Four Spotted Chaser Four Spotted Chaser, Otmoor, Oxon

30 May 2015

Good numbers of dragonflies along the Roman Road and eastern part of the bridleway, including this obliging 4 spot.
Club tailed Dragonfly
Club tailed Dragonfly before emergence, Goring Railway Bridge, River Thames, Oxon

23 May 2015

Arriving at the railway bridge at about 12:30 (which is a famous locality for emerging Club-tails), I immediately noticed this strange object on the low wall below the path under the bridge, about a foot above the water.

I wasn't sure what it was, and whether it was alive or not, as there was no sign of activity.

Club tailed Dragonfly Club tailed Dragonfly emerging, Goring Railway Bridge, River Thames, Oxon

23 May 2015

Returning about 20mins later, it was clear what this was! So I proceeded to try to capture the different stages of the emergence using the two lenses I had brought with me.

This was taken at some distance using my 400mmf5.6 with extension tubes attached, but the auto focus wouldn't work for some reason and so this was taken with manual focus and hand held - not the best combination for sharp results.

Club tailed Dragonfly Club tailed Dragonfly having just emerged, Goring Railway Bridge, River Thames, Oxon

23 May 2015

Due to the AF difficulties with the 400mm lens, I quickly swapped to my 180mm macro for the remainder of this sequence. As the insect was low down, just above the water, this involved lying down and leaning over the edge (but not too far!) of the path which was covered with a large number of ants - a painful experience!

Nevertheless, I persevered, taking turns with two other guys who were on the same mission as I was!
Club tailed Dragonfly Club tailed Dragonfly, Goring Railway Bridge, River Thames, Oxon

23 May 2015

After it had emerged, it began to slowly walk up the wall towards ground level. This photo was taken just as it reached the top, where I was finally able to get it fully square on.
Club tailed Dragonfly Club tailed Dragonfly, Goring Railway Bridge, River Thames, Oxon

23 May 2015

A close up (easy with the macro!) of it at the top of the wall.
Club tailed Dragonfly Club tailed Dragonfly, Goring Railway Bridge, River Thames, Oxon

23 May 2015

The view from above!
Club-tailed Dragonfly Club tailed Dragonfly, Goring Railway Bridge, River Thames, Oxon

23 May 2015

Shortly after reaching the top of the low wall, it flew weakly and landed on a plant close to the path.
Club tailed Dragonfly Club tailed Dragonfly, Goring Railway Bridge, River Thames, Oxon

23 May 2015

Final shot!
All pictures copyright Stephen Burch

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