Odonata is the order of insects that includes the dragonflies and damselflies. Today, while Carol was off meeting her genealogical pals, I went off to meet some of my insect pals. Another chap wandered in flashing a new Canon EOS 50D equipped with a 500mm Sigma lens and a close focussing ring. Grrr! I carried on regardless with my EOS 40D and 300mm lens. [Note to self: really should replace our old film SLR close focussing rings with some that are compatible with a digital body.]
The butterflies really had quietened down even though it was quite sunny to begin with. I was trying to find a small white to add the collection but they were either too ragged or too uncooperative, sometimes both. I did, however, manage to grab another shot of a Green-veined White (left) which, given its high-contrast background, seems quite artistic to me. I am, however, a self-confessed artistic numbskull and hardly qualified to judge.
The thistles were, as usual, attracting various bees so I snapped a couple of them for good measure and a new subject. I thought the markings and colours might make them relatively easy to identify. Silly me! I remain clueless as to their identity.
The real gems came down by the side of the pond which seemed to be teeming, relatively speaking, with damselflies and dragonflies of various sorts. It was also teeming with silly folks with 300mm lenses slipping on grass and falling on their backsides with a jarring crash. Ouch! However, I recovered and was particularly keen on a new species for me: what I think is a so-called Common Darter (far left). I wish creatures with such wonderful markings and colouration were not called “common” but I get their point. I was also excited by the very delicate White-legged Damselfly (middle left). Of course, I had no idea what I was snapping until I returned home to the books. I think the third suspect (near left) is a repeat of a female Common Darter but don’t quote me.
I was most intrigued by what I correctly guessed was egg-laying activity. I’d seen some pairs both flying and resting coupled together. This formation, I now know, is called the copulation wheel for obvious reasons (left). Following that, however, the pairs of some species fly along joined in what is known as the tandem position for ovipositing whereby they repeatedly dip down to the water to allow the female (rear of the pair) to deposit her eggs. They move very fast and it’s darn difficult to snap them but I tried and got something half-way recognizable (right).
At this rate I’ll be joining the British Dragonfly Society. They have a place at Wicken Fen that must be worth a visit. 🙂