Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Butterflies and damsels

On Monday I was thwarted by the rain when I went to try and photograph common blue butterflies. With the rain finally passed I had another try. The sun was shining an the air warm, there were small blue fluttering things all over the place. None intent on posing placidly for a portrait. What frustrating little creatures they are! When one would settle and pose nicely there's be grass in front of it. When they perched in plain sight they'd be at a daft angle.

Male common blue

Female common blue - not very blue, is it?

There were other butterflies around; plenty of gatekeepers, a fair few meadow browns, some whites, one or two small tortoise shells and a peacock. Lots of moths too. I struggled manfully for about an hour before leaving for the easier target of damselflies at the Newt Pond after pestering a horde of insects on an umbellifer.
Red soldier beetles - at it as usual!

For some reason I'd been having trouble getting sharp shots while chasing the butterflies. When I got to the newt pond the camera was failing to recognise the flash gun. I traced the fault to the connecting lead and had to make do with the flash directly on the hotshoe.

Something approaching 24hrs of constant rain had raised the level of the pond and the path round it was a bit more squishy than on my previous visits. As I neared the pond an unidentified, dark green-ish looking, dragonfly flew up and high over some trees. There weren't many damsels to be seen, but the first I spotted was an emerald that disappeared from view. There were gatekeepers and whites around, as well as a few skippers. The few damsels were mostly azures and an odd common blue.

By the second pond an emerald damsel played nicely and let me get close enough to stick the Raynox on, but wouldn't move into a position where I could get good depth of field.

Emerald damsel - headshot!

Emerald damselfly

Making my way back to the first pond for a second circuit I disturbed a brown hawker, and two more from almost under my feet when I got back to the pond. A few spots of rain fell so I went back to the car. The rain stopped and I went to the Litter Pit. Again there weren't too many damsels to be seen, and no dragonflies at first. Eventually I noticed blue tailed damsels here and there by the 'bomb holes', and a gathering of gatekeeper butterflies in one corner.

One of the horsetail filled craters was almost connected to a bigger one after the rain. It was along the now water covered path that a red dragonfly approached me, even perching just out of decent camera range.

Common darter

Another rain shower came in, accompanied by greying skies. Time for home to evaluate the photos (pretty poor) and see if the flash lead was repairable (it was - a loose screw).

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