Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Peek - a - Blue

Needed to get out today to find some damsels, but with cloudy skies it wasn't going to be easy. Clockburn Lake was my site of choice as it's inhabited by a good population of Blue-tailed damsels, and one of the things I like about this species is it doesn't tend to shy away from the gloom like others, maybe their smaller size and heat-retaining dark colouration has something to do with it. Even this early in the season there should be a few emerged by now, so even in cooler conditions like today, they should still be active.

In the event I was right on all counts, not big in numbers but enough to make the journey worthwhile, especially as some of the immature females were dark pink examples of the rufescens form, a cracking little lady to view and photograph.
That's another of the things I like about this species, the variation of colours in the maturation process of the females, the guides usually show the five standard forms but there are so many shades of colour in between there's a lot to keep the interest going for just one species.

A few tenerals rose up from the waterside, and though only around 8 variously coloured individuals were on show, they were easy to track as they fly low amongst the vegetation, so it was just a matter of waiting for them to settle then use a bit of stealth to try and get close enough for a decent shot. Not always easy, but got surprisingly close to one or two. The downside now being because of the overcast conditions, the light wasn't particularly favourable for photographs. But I got a few, here's the best of :

Got my best shot early doors, as this male blue-tail played peek a boo from behind a stem

Had I not seen him land I wouldn't have known he was there, kept moving around the stalk as I tried
to get an angle for a photo, like a green woodpecker does in the woods.    

Typica form female, just about fully mature

Same individual from the side

Mature male, meaning he must have emerged nearly 2 weeks ago

First of the rufescens females, a beautiful deep pink thorax

Same, from above

And another angle, a cracking form of blue-tail

The first was then joined by a second (just about in focus, right)

After devouring a meal this one hung on for a while . . .

. . . .before it too played peek a boo

Who's watching who?

A few azures were showing too, but if out in the open soon disappeared when disturbed, unlike the blue-tails which carried on as normal.

Very pale teneral Azure male, freshly emerged today

Whereas this one is almost fully mature, so again getting on to a fortnight old. 

Still no Large Reds yet, unusual as they're not often outside the first two species I see, might try Gibside Lily Pond if the Sun gets out, usually a good site for them.

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