Saturday, 16 February 2013

Dragons and Damsels

I hope none of you have come here looking for Sword and Sandal fantasy stuff.  This is a couple of snaps of members of the order Odonata, taken on our top dam.

I was primarily up there showing some friends where to find the primary raw material for blackberry jam but as it was a nice sunny day I though I'd check the photography situation.  Stephen is a water scientist and claimed credentials with the comment that when photographing dragonflies and damselflies if one gets 1 good image out of 30, it is about average.  I suspect I did slightly better than that, but not by much.  I will begin with an image in mid-range quality.  (ie I didn't trash it in the field as it looked reasonable on my camera, but when I saw it on the computer screen I wished I had.)
 The reason, other than humour, for including it is not the fly perched on the grass stem but the red/blue blur which is a pair of damselflies flying united.  I assume this means they are the same, sexually dimorphic, species.

My friend Stephen confirms my assumption and got a really good image of the male of this species Xanthagrion erythroneurum:
I have been trying for some weeks to get an image of some quite large bright blue dragonflies (Stphen identifies this as Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum).  Today they were around in droves and I even got one to pose well.
The red damselflies were very uncooperative.  But I did manage to score a couple of reasonable images of the blues.  If you are into venation, and I have no views on that life-style myself, I suggest click the second image to get a large version and check the reflection.

Stephen has subsequently done detective work and advises that this is very like the Eastern Billabong Fly Austroagrion watsoni.

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