Pages

Notes on Use of This Blog


1. I have a policy that I always reply to comments on my blog, even if it's just to say thank you.

2. Please don't submit comments that include your own web address. For obvious reasons, they will not be published.

3. I'm now on Twitter - @RichardPegler1

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Heather Lake - on 21st June & 5th July, 2017

On 25th May, I had paid a visit to the lake at Heather and been impressed by the number of damselflies (Azure, Common Blue, and Blue-tailed) and Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies that were there. I resolved to return at various stages during the season. My next visit, however, wasn't until 21st June.

Wednesday 21st June

As I approached, I found that there were large numbers of Ringlet butterfly along the edges of the meadow.

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus) (male) - near Heather Lake
Reaching the lake, it was immediately apparent that there were good numbers of male Emperor dragonfly around. These - one of the two largest of British dragonflies - were hard to miss! 

There were, perhaps, too many of them as they were extremely active and almost permanently engaged in feuds over territory with their own species and with the Four-spotted Chasers. I only saw three perch, and two of them were in extremely poor condition. This first one was rather too distant for a detailed shot.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (male) - Heather Lake
I'd already taken a couple of shots of the next one before I noticed that it had lost a complete wing! This was disappointing as it was very confiding.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (male) - Heather Lake
The third one looked to be relatively intact, but insisted on playing hide-and-seek with me - I'd have had to wade out into the lake to get round to the other side of it.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (male) - Heather Lake
There were plenty of Common Blue Damselflies around, including numerous mating pairs.

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (male) - Heather Lake
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (pair mating) - Heather Lake
The Four-spotted Chasers were just as aggressive as the Emperors, but seemed to be weathering their encounters somewhat better than them.

If there's ever a competition for the photo with the most exuvia on one stem, I might enter the first image - and I was so intent on photographing the dragonfly that I didn't even notice at the time. If I had have done, I might have got even more than the six that are visible in the image!




Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (male) - Heather Lake
Immediately after taking that last photo, I went round to the other side of the bush that I was standing beside, and sent a Hobby flying off into the distance. I only managed a retreating shot, but it appears that it was a juvenile. This bird was possibly responsible for that Emperor losing a whole wing!

Hobby (Falco subbuteo) (juvenile) - Heather Lake
One of the most interesting sightings for me was a lone Black-tailed Skimmer near the south end of the lake. Whilst by no means a rare dragonfly, I don't see that many of these.


Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) (male) - Heather Lake
From the west side of the lake I was able to observe a female Emperor ovipositing.


Emperor (Anax imperator) (female - ovipositing) - Heather Lake
As I was about to leave, I noticed an Emperor exuvia which I photographed in-situ before retrieving it. It now sits in a pot in my study.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (exuvia) - Heather Lake
Wednesday 5th July

Two weeks later I was back again. This time there were even more Emperor dragonflies in evidence.

Strangely, an Emperor exuvia was the first thing I photographed this time!

Emperor (Anax imperator) (exuvia) - Heather Lake
Some of the male Emperors were settling and, fortunately, many of these were in better shape than those on my previous visit - but not all of them!.




Emperor (Anax imperator) (male) - Heather Lake
I spent a short while trying to get flight shots, but the high foliage at the edge of the lake kept getting in the way. This was the best I could manage. Although it's a terrible, shot it amuses me as it reminds me of looking up at a helicopter.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (male) - Heather Lake
There were many Common Blue Damselflies around, as can be seen in this next image.

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) - Heather Lake
I don't see many of the blue form of the female Common Blue, so was pleased to get this pair in tandem.

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (pair in tandem) - Heather Lake
There was plenty of mating going on on this occasion too.

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (pair mating) - Heather Lake
Four-spotted Chasers were still around, though not quite as numerous as on my previous visit.


Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (male) - Heather Lake
The female Emperors were ovipositing again.

Emperor (Anax imperator) (female - ovipositing) - Heather Lake
The real highlight of the day for me, however, was getting my first ever shot of a mating pair of Emperors!

Emperor (Anax imperator) (pair mating) - Heather Lake
I recently returned to Heather Lake. The weather was not ideal, and I only saw four dragonflies during a two-hour search - it seemed very strange! Any disappointment was added to by finding that I'd managed to step in a large pile of dog dirt hidden in the long grass. Cleaning this from deeply treaded soles of my boot was not a pleasant task.

Thank you for dropping by - I suspect that my next post will feature butterflies, but I've still got a lot of catching up to do.

18 comments:

  1. Fantastic photos Richard. Loads of dragonflies and the Hobby, there to eat them all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Bob. That Hobby might be the reason that I did not see many dragonflies when I last visited!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  2. Your photography is excellent, and so interesting to see insects that I seldom ever find near home where most of my photography seems to take place!
    I also have lots of catching up to do, especially with South Africa, I have 81 birds alone identified in my photos without all the larger wild life!!!
    Best wishes and have a good week Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for those kind words, Diane. You seem to do OK with some of the wonderful creatures you do find in your garden!

      I'm looking forward to seeing your South Africa wildlife!

      This weekend is going to be dominated by Birdfair - a major three-day event with people coming from all over the world! Might be difficult to get out for photography - which is frustrating as I have a new lens arriving tomorrow!

      Keep well and enjoy the weekend - - - Richard

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Anne. I enjoyed taking them!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  4. Next year I will do my best to get some Deagonflies. You are the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Adrian. If that's the case, the feeling is mutual!

      Looking forward to getting a new macro lens tomorrow!

      Best wishes - - - - Richard

      Delete
  5. An excellent post Richard. Well done on the mating Emperor shots. Not easy to get but you have done very well indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Marc, for those encouraging words. The new lens arrives tomorrow! Just have to hope for suitable conditions to use it!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  6. Hi Richard,
    A quick hello and my admiration for all these great pics that I will comment here next wekk when I am back.
    I though much of you yesterday, got my LO at the hotel at last!!!!
    Say hello to John for me when you see him got to sleep, getting up at 5h00 tomorrow!
    Warm hugs and take care :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Noushka. Thank you for taking the time out to write - much appreciated. I'm delighted to hear that you've found a Little Owl in Spain. I am looking forward to seeing your images.

      Sorry not to have replied before now - I too was up at 05h00 yesterday. I was on duty at Birdfair, and came home too worn out to think straight and do anything!

      Take good care and have a wonderful time in Spain - - - Richard

      Delete
  7. A really fine series of pictures, Richard. Dragonflies certainly provide you with great subjects at this time of the year and I am impressed by your knowledge of this taxon. Great work - even Franc might envy a few of these images! Enjoy the weekend ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are very kind words, David. However, I am still very much a novice on the subject of dragonflies, but there are some superb reference books around! I'm also finding that I've got a lot to learn about dragonfly photography. What I was once satisfied with, I now find sadly lacking when I compare my efforts with those of the experts. It's a bit late in the season now, but I shall be striving to up my game.

      This weekend is Birdfair. I was on duty there yesterday, and tonight Lindsay and I are at a Speakers' Dinner, hosted by The Grant Arms. If we get some better weather, I hope to find time to be out with the camera using a new macro lens which was delivered in my absence yesterday. Fingers are crossed!

      With love to you both - - - Richard

      Delete
  8. Hi Richard and glad your excursion to Birdfair went well, some wonderful Dragonfly images, the favourite has to be the Emperor, what an absolute beauty, wait till you get at them with the new lens??. Hopefully we will get out this week, please phone ahead so I can remember as to who it is. All the best and see you soon. John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for those kind words, John. At the moment I have mixed feelings aboout the macro lens, although I have been trying to use it in bad conditions with the subject matter being blown around in the wind!

      The weather is not looking over-promising for Thursday, but everything is crossed. Don't worry - I've kept my Birdfair name tag and will wear that just to jog your memory!

      See you soon - - - Richard

      Delete
  9. Hello Richard
    Super beautiful pictures and a large selection of dragonflies. I can not decide which one should be the best :-)).
    Your patience and peace have paid off so you got perfect pictures.
    Greetings Frank

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Frank. Somehow I managed to miss that you'd left a comment on my blog - Sorry!!

      Thank you for your very kind words which, I assure you, are very much appreciated!

      With my best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete

Please Note: Due to Blogger removing the option for comments from "Registered Users - includes OpenID" option in Blogger settings, and replacing it with the option for registered Google users only. I was concerned that this option might restrict some 'genuine' users from commenting. However, I am now getting around 10 'anonymous' comments per day, and this is just getting too annoying. I am, therefore, applying the 'User with Google Accouns' restriction. If this prevents you from commenting, please let me know by email to rick.pegler@btinternet.com - please note that this is not my regular email address, which remains unchanged from the original.