Monday, 17 July 2017

Common Hawker male in flight

A small pool on Titterstone Clee produced an obliging male Common Hawker dragonfly! Regularly patrolling a regular beat - here he comes in direct flight. All the images taken at 1/1250sec show how the wing motion changes in different modes of flight!

Note the wings are a blur and beating pretty much synchronised in this first image...

The yellow stripes immediately rule out Southern Hawker and yellow leading edge to the wings (clearly visible) is diagnostic for Common Hawker. Migrant Hawker is effectively excluded (its obviously smaller in the field anyway) and there are other subtle differences on the abdomen.

Pausing for a hover! Recent research has shown when hovering, they beat their wings at the same rate but the front and back pair are slightly out of synch or phase. The wings are less blurred as the flap rate is reduced - it's all part of an energy saving strategy...

Off he goes again with some close side on opportunities and the wing blur is back!

Gotta be the favourite angle with a 'topside' view of the thorax /abdomen. Whilst there is a blue form of the female in Common Hawker, the 'waisted' end of the abdomen closest to the thorax shows it's a male!

Always wary and exceptionally inquisitive (unlike Southern Hawkers) they don't come much closer than this!

I must have watched it for 40 minutes or so and was in the general area for much longer! With aerial agility unparalleled, it munched several small bugs, eating them on the wing -  I never saw it land! Come on, 'isn't nature wonderful'!! I suppose the nearest 'we' can do is make a helicopter!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Venus Pool - Little Egret

Another new bird for the local year list and (for a few days anyway) gaining my attention! After another week (or less) it will probably be ignored, such is birding...

Go on, do something!

Strut up and down and catch no fish?

How about a ruffle?

Well better than nothing!

I've a feeling, I might have to take one or two more?

Friday, 14 July 2017

Venus Pool - Green Sandpipers

Normal service resumed with the Greenshank not lingering but there's no shortage of opportunities from the Green Sandpipers, now up to six individuals but not all one the reserve at the same time.

Lovely light for once and an obliging bird!

Almost a reflection!

Just chilling rather than feeding...

Until a Lapwing took exception to the newcomer!

Green Sandpipers can run when they have to!

A post bathe ruffle...

And finish with a wingflap :-)

Good night...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Venus Pool - Greenshank

Birds don't have to show feather detail to get onto this blog! A quick visit to VP before heading south led to another new bird for the shire year - that was after I'd confirmed the wader in question was actually an adult Greenshank, rather than a Black-tailed Godwit...

And here it is in all its record shot into the light glory!!

A bit closer in the white water!

They all count and there will no doubt be another one strutting its stuff a bit closer :-) Bit for now, that's all I've got!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Atcham - White-legged Damsellies

The Odonata theme continues... I'm checking out some of Shropshire's residents during July and trying to post informative images to help with ID. Todays special is the White-legged Damselfly and with slow flowing muddy stretches of river a key habitat, the River Severn just downstream of Atcham is good place to see them!

 An immature male, the black markings on the abdomen are not quite complete and he's paler blue.

Adult male with blue coloration and complete black markings on the abdomen...

If you haven't already noticed,White-legged Damselflies have chestnut wing spots!

I'm sure this guy was laughing at me? Showing off his 'inflated tibiae' with white edges.

A very immature female, the lactea phase where the markings on the abdomen are barely developed, just dots on each segment...

Virtually mature, this female has the typical pale yellow-green thorax

Full markings on the abdomen with a touch of drab at the tail end, this will change to green...

Standard ID images can become a little boring so I singled out this obliging male for a bit of macro creativity?

Here's looking at you...

The archetypal 'bug eyed monster'?

If I've whetted your appetite for more? Check out for more species and information!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Venus Pool - Ruddy Darters

Ruddy Darters are now making their presence known at Venus Pool and elsewhere. It looks like last year was a good one and numbers already seem impressive. On just a short walk, I saw at least six males of which, this was the only obliging one!

Apart from the deep red colour, the body shape is key to separating them from Common Darters...

And they look menacing close up!

 They always seem to look better on natural perches!

I was lucky to find this immature male!

Exactly the same structure as the adult but the immature bright yellow ochre colouration will eventually turn red...

Now then, what have I stumbled on here? A female! There is no 'waist' to the body which gradually tapers and the colouration is paler

To exclude a female Common Darter, note the all black legs and the T-shaped mark at the top of the thorax

There's a lot going on in the Odonata world at VP and it's right under your nose :-)