Friday, July 6

Damsels in the garden

One good thing about having the new summerhouse is that we can sit 'outside' when the weather isn't up to much and it also means that we enjoy our pond more as the front of the summerhouse overlooks the pond.

Recently one or maybe more damselflies have been visiting the pond. Being so delicate they are very difficult to spot when they are still but give themselves away as they flit around.

Trying to take a photo is really difficult - not only is it hard to locate them but once located the camera seems to want to focus on anything but the subject that I want. Then the subjects rarely seems to stay still for long. I did manage to catch one at rest on the heron deterrent strings that stretch across the pond. Even with zoom fully deployed - the damselfly was in the very centre of the pond it was difficult to get a really good close-up but here's my best effort.
I browsed the Internet and it seems that there are lots of different types of blue damselflies and my photo didn't give me enough clues to be able to identify this one but my guess was that it was male. Anyway during my browsing I came across The British Dragonfly Society  and so I sent my photo off to them and quickly received a reply identifying our visitor as a blue-tailed damselfly. The BDS are carrying out a survey and are collecting records of sightings of dragonflies and damselflies and so I entered records for the two  recent sighting.

A few days ago we watched a similar damselfly looking as though it was laying eggs in the pond. I don't really understand this - as far as I know damselfly males and females lay eggs together with the male clasping the female. Try as I may I can only make out one damselfly in the video below so is she trying to go it alone?

This isn't the first time that we have had damsels visiting our pond as in the past we spotted this red one resting on the pond edge.
Being close to water we also have seen their larger cousins - dragonflies on our allotment plot. This one got stuck under some netting thrown over our cherry tree. (Not this year as there are no cherries to protect)!
I first became aware of it when I heard noisy wing flapping and thought that a bird was trapped so the encounter came as a bit of a surprise to both of us.

Of course after filming what I am guessing was a common hawker was set free to go about its business.

14 comments:

  1. I don't think I've ever seen a red one before. We get them around the allotment, but rarely in the garden.

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    1. The red one at first landed on a red handbrush that I had been using outside and popped on the pond edging - must have thought it was an attractive female.

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  2. Great photos, I have seen many damsel and dragonflies whilst I have been out fishing but I have never managed to photograph one...just when I think i got the perfect shot they fly away.

    I never realised there were so many species.

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    1. At least the ones I've managed to photograph have stayed still long enough Tanya

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  3. Great photos and video Sue! I have never seen a red one before.

    I see you are finally getting some fruit. I'm sure your weather is why your strawberries aren't as sweet as they usually are.

    I'd be more then happy to send some of our heat and sunshine your way!

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    1. I've not seen another since, Robin.

      I'm sure the weather is to blame too and yes please to the offer of sunshine in a very large package if you would!

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  4. Haven't seen any this year let alone photograph them

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    1. Ours were really hard to spot, Elaine - it was just a case of looking at the right time and Martyn tends to be a bit of an eagle eye and points me in the right direction

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  5. Well, I reckon that photo of the blue one is very good considering the subject-matter! We have a canal that runs through Fleet, and I sometimes see swarms of Damselflies on it, and occasionally a Dragonfly. I can't say what types though because I have never studied them in detail. There is a lot of info on the internet isn't there? I wish I had more time to use it. Maybe when I retire...?

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    1. You can only see the detail if you can get a photo, Mark and even then identifying them isn't easy even with all the info on the internet. I was told that the female of the blue tailed one could be various colours which makes it even more tricky. Photos help a bit but I find drawings less helpful for birds or insects.

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  6. They must be really hard to photograph so well done. The blue-tailed damselfly is really pretty. Good video too. I haven't seen any in Northern Ireland.

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    1. You should have seen how many photos I dumped Kelli. I had the camera on burst so took lots of photos to get one of two that were half decent.

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  7. Great photos. They are beautiful creatures but surprisingly noisy aren't they.

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    1. The bigger dragonflies are Debbie but the damsels are silent.

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