Friday 23 December 2011: Damsel
A later start this morning due to my resident mouse chewing on something hard and plasticky in the kitchen, the session at the common started at 08:30 for an hour. The sun was out and so all the insects were already warmed up and very active. There were clouds of orange dragons (yesterdays blip) buzzing me within a few feet. I could see upwards of thirty at any one time in this part of the field. Although the most common of all the dragons, it rarely settles down and so is difficult to capture, although again today I managed to get to minimum distance and get a close-up of the back of the head.
I collected nine subjects for twenty images to select from, so a very successful session, comprising: orange dragon, hover fly, 4 spot brown butterfly, stink bug, a new St Andrews cross spider, hopper, caterpillar, 2 headed butterfly and the damsel. I chose to run with the damsel because it has proven to be a very illusive subject, this being only the fourth time I have captured one. The previous three did not make blip because one was a poor quality shot and the other two were beaten by more impressive blip material.
The damsel had competition today too, there being perhaps three or four more deserving shots, but rarity wins today. Damsels are not rare insects, they are just extremely difficult to find. They seem to prefer shaded corners and hover slowly amongst the grass stems, With no sudden movements to catch your eye. They are the most accomplished of fliers, I think even more so than the dragons, the movement through the air is slow and very smooth. The blipped damsel is chewing on an insect that it pulled out of the air in less than a second, returning to it's perch.
The blip highlights the basic differences between a dragonfly and a damsel, the two main differences being that the damsel parks its wings together just above it's body and the dragon parks with it's wings spread. The second difference is the eyes, dragon eyes are much larger and touch at the top, damsel eyes are well spread out, almost like on stalks.
The black and white polka dot butterfly was in attendance today but no blip opportunities. This is a very aggressive male butterfly and attacks the dragons if they stray too close. A bit like a mad dog chasing cars, what does it think it is going to do with the dragon if it catches one, lick it to death with it's long nectar drinking tongue! The chances of catching the aerial master that is a dragon is pretty remote anyway.
All in all a very good session, paid for by the strained Achilles ligament from all the ups and downs, the blip monster always collects. I put a few of the nearly blips in folio for those interested.