Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Pond life

A few weeks ago, on a walk with the Flora group of the Orkney Field Club, in between all the orchid wrangling and what have you, I was shown a flooded quarry that had potential as a dragonfly site. Once I discovered who was the land owner, I was fortunate enough to be granted permission to survey the site for Odonata. This afternoon, I had some free time and, more importantly, lots of sunshine!

Whilst most of the site is probably too deep for odes, there are shallows at the margins, with emergent vegetation likely to appeal to a damselfly larva looking to take the next rung on the ladder of Life.

It is also home to lots of these wee guys...

so maybe not so hospitable for insect larvae of many species?

After a few minutes of searching, I came across a Blue-tailed Damselfly, and then another and another.

There were Large Red Damselflies too.

All damsels so far, approximately 15, were mature adults, and I couldn't discount the possibility that they had flown in from elsewhere. However, just as I was retracing my steps, I spotted this very fresh immature one, pale-coloured, milky wings and not far from the water's edge. It may well have just taken its maiden flight. I think it's a Blue-tailed Damselfly, but no amount of searching could locate the exuvia from which it had emerged. So the breeding status of the site is unresolved.

I did find Large Reds ovipositing in tandem, so they are trying to breed here. Time will tell whether they are successful in that endeavour.

And whilst we're on the subject of mating, back home at Tense Towers, later in the evening, the local Hares were looking decidedly frisky.

It's not just March when they go mad, y'know.