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Friday, 4 October 2019

Back to the End of June - 28th June, 2019

I've not had anything to report on since the subject of my last post, so this is a retrospective to the start of summer.

A visit to Ticknall Limeyards six days previous to this day had not been overly successful, possibly due to less-than-ideal weather conditions, and that the dragonfly season had started rather late in these parts. The weather was somewhat better this day, so I decided to see what might be going on there.

I was on my own, and set off at mid-day, taking a picnic lunch with me which I consumed before setting off on foot to the ponds/lakes.

On arrival, I soon saw Red-eyed Damselfly and, true to habit, they were settling on lily pads as far away from the bank as possible! I'd taken the 50-500 lens with me so did manage to get a distant shot or two.

Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
The Azure Damselflies were a little more accommodating -

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
- as was, briefly, a Four-spotted Chaser.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
Two Emperor dragonflies were flying close to the far side of the lake. I spent quite some time trying to photograph them but the results were not worth publishing here. With arms aching after my attempts at flight shots, I headed off to another area of the site, where I had previously had some good dragonfly and butterfly sightings.

Things didn't look too good at this next location, although I did take some shots of a Large Skipper butterfly.

Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) (female) - Ticknall Limeyards
At one point, I was relatively sure that I'd got a Humming-bird Hawk-moth spotted and it was just starting to oblige when a couple with a dog showed up. They, very thoughtfully, stopped when they saw I was taking photos. However, they did not stop their dog which ran straight to where the moth was and sent it packing. 

The following is, almost certainly, the worst photo you have ever seen of a HBHM, but there's just about enough information there to confirm its identity!

Humming-bird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) - Ticknall Limeyards
I searched for the HBHM for some time after the dog had gone, but never relocated it and, as little else was showing, headed back to my original location.

At first, things seemed to be much the same. I photographed a Blue-tailed Damselfly and a Large Red Damselfly, and even took a few shots of the orchids, which hadn't done so well here this year.

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) - Ticknall Limeyards
I then noticed that the dragonflies were starting to behave as if they wanted to settle. A Four-spotted Chaser was the first to oblige, and stopped off briefly on several occasions. 

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
The best bit was, however, when one of the two Emperors decided it was time for a rest. It settled for a while in five different places - all on, or near, the ground, which surprised me a little and meant I had a cluttered background to my photos. At one point it looked as if it would land in patch of orchids but overshot by enough distance to prevent the shot I'd hoped for.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
It had been a very warm afternoon, and the heat was starting to get to me so I set off homeward - the real reason being that I wanted to be there to greet Lindsay when she returned from her day out!

The weather here has been a little unfriendly lately so I've not been out for a while, and am unsure of what the subject of my next post will be. Don't be surprised, however if it's another retrospective and largely featuring dragons - sorry!!


  1. Don't apologise. Keep the dragonflies coming. Like you, I'm struggling to find much time to get out at the moment. Even then it's only an hour or so. Pretty pathetic really. Some nice memories there already Richard.

    1. Thank you, again, for the encouragement, Marc. Most of my time at the moment is being spent catching up with the jobs I was unable to do while I was ill - much of it being in the garden, which had turned into an overgrown jungle! Weather permitting, however, I feel another excursion coming on - probably for birds. Best wishes - - - Richard

  2. It is great that you have pictures like this to go back to, Richard. As Marc says above there is certainly no need to apologize for more dragonfly shots. I suspect that everyone enjoys them as much as I do.

    1. Those are very kind words, David - thank you!

  3. Always a pleasure to visit. Another grand selection.
    Dogs can be a real pain at times. Several times a day in my case.

    1. I don't usually have a problem with dogs, Adrian, but then I don't have one - or two, like you do! Sadly, it's usually the owners, rather than the dogs, that are the problem if there is one - I'm not digging at you, here! There seems to be a belief that if the dog does its fouling off the path, there's no need to pick it up. For my insect shots, I'm forever going through grass away from the path, and it's really unpleasant when I get that squidgey feeling under my foot. The consequences for me are even more unpleasant than the sight of bags of dog dirt hung up in trees and bushes.

      Thank you for your kind words. Best wishes - - - Richard

  4. Hello Richard,
    You can post this type of review more often :-))))
    I see the nicest and sharpest photos of the ladies and the dragonflies. The Great Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) (female) is also so beautiful, sharp and beautiful in the details Beautiful as you present it here. I like this kind of photos. My compliments .

    Greetings and be careful,

    1. I'm absolutely delighted that you like my photos, Helma. There may be more to come soon!

      I hope you haver a great week ahead of you. Take good care - - - Richard

  5. Beautiful Richard, they are very alling, I love the Common Spotted Orchid, lovely.

    1. Thank you, Bob, although I'm not sure what 'alling' was meant to be! It always raises my spirits when I see an orchid, although I know very little about them. My very best wishes - - - Richard

  6. Lovely set of photos I might get to see some of the summer insects in RSA. Three weeks of travelling as tourist guide here to American friends has exhausted us. Wednesday we leave from Bordeaux to fly to Gatwick. Then bus to Heathrow and overnight flight to Johannesburg. Then lots of travel and hopefully including Kruger National Park, back home 14 November. Keep well, best wishes to you both, Diane

    1. Hi Diane. I hope that you manage to get some rest before Wednesday, and that all the travel arrangements are as smooth as clockwork. It seems strange for you to have to fly so far north in order to fly south again!

      If you do find insects in RSA, I hope that they are of the spectacular kind, and not the painful ones! Have a wonderful time there. I look forward to reading about your travels on your return. Take good care - - - Richard

  7. Great imanges of earlier seen dagonflies, butterflies etc. The Fourspotted dragonfly is just stunning Richard.
    Now it is waiting for Spring to see all these creatures again. Hope you are ok and take care.

    1. Hi Roos. I'm doing really well, thank you. I shall soon have to turn my attention to birds once more and be patient until next spring/summer for the return of the insects. Hopefully, there will be a few moths to entertain me before then?!

      With my very best wishes - - - Richard

  8. Since I've been trying to learn more about the insect world, your quality photographs and outstanding descriptions have been immensely motivating, Richard! This post, for example, shows subjects we don't specifically have here in the U.S., but they are representative of familiar families. So, the information and images you provide are very helpful.

    As usual, I can't select a "favorite" photograph as they are all splendid!

    Don't be tempted to overdo it physically as you try to catch up on chores. Listen to your work supervisor and follow her instructions and admonitions!

    Gini and I have been out exploring quite a bit lately and I'm falling behind (no surprise) in posting about our adventures. I know better than to promise I'll do better. :)

    Both of us hope both of you are enjoying a brand new week!

    1. I'd noticed that there were many familiar similarities between your dragons and ours, Wally, although you do have some species that look extremely exotic to me!

      Don't worry - I'm relatively self-regulating when it comes to exercise, but I am trying to build myself up to something approaching my level of fitness from February/March time.

      Thank you for all your encouragement and cautions! My very best wishes to you both - - - Richard


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