I was hoping there was going to be a lot of Large Reds about, a couple of years ago I found my one and only melanotum form female (mostly black abdomen), by far the rarest of the three forms, though it was a case of shoot first and ask questions later, as I had the kids in tow that day and didn't have time to study anything so just photographed as many individuals as I could and found it later as I reviewed the photos on the laptop. So thinking there should be a lot out by now, thought I'd try my luck again.
Today however there wasn't a lot about unfortunately, and it was disappointing to see that most of the lush vegetation used as shelter and perching posts had been removed from the front of the pond, opening it up presumably for access for pond dipping, (a popular pastime hereabouts) but could explain the unusual low numbers of damsels today. Or maybe I've been spoiled by my success yesterday and the unseasonal hot spell, forgetting it's still relatively early in the dragonfly season for big numbers to be about.
Anyway, just a few reds to be seen, more azures but mainly immatures and the odd teneral, nowt special at all really.
So, disappointing from a damsel point, but that was inconsequential as I had already stumbled across an insect I'd always wanted to find in Gateshead, an insect buzzing around my feet like a large greenbottle, and it wasn't until it landed that I discovered it was a beetle, a Green Tiger Beetle :-O.
|Green Tiger Beetle - what a beaut|
for once waited for me to get my camera out of the bag so I could get a photograph
|Though it didn't hang around for long. I lost it when it flew up into the grassy bank|
|Back to the damsels - a teneral azure (male)|
|immature azure (male)|
|One of the few large reds - an immature male|
I'd only ever seen these cracking insects once before, at Waskerley Reservoir where I was fascinated by their speed across the sandy floor, and never got a good look at one as they were non-stop, like they were powered by Duracell.
They're widespread but not common, found in open sandy soils where they use their speed on the ground to chase down their prey, ants, spiders, mainly stuff which doesn't fly away. They're actually good flyers themselves, like I said, this one was buzzing around me like a big fly. Their larvae dig pits in the soil and catch passing insects for food.
I made it a 'bucket list' beetle there and then, I had to find one in Gateshead, and get a photograph; job done. :-)