The day of the re-scheduled event dawned dry and bright. By a stroke of luck (although if pushed on the topic, I will admit to being a meteorological genius 😂), I had hit on the best day so far for one of my dragonfly walks.
Reports had been trickling in of a few more species on the wing, so I was quietly hopeful, but still voicing some concern, in a glass half full sort of way.
The ferry trip across Scapa Flow to Hoy was spent on deck. Hats weren't blown into the sea, hypothermia didn't set in, nor were there any sudden squalls or deluges. Things were looking up!
Ten of us gathered at the Lyness pier, and after a brief chat about the route and what we might see, we set off up the track to the hill of Wee Fea. The botanists among us were soon side-tracked by an intense discussion about Black Medick/Lesser Trefoil. In the end, I had to leave the three of them knelt around a small yellow clump of vegetation, still deep in conversation, and gather up the remainder of the party. To be fair, any Orkney Field Club walk will invariably include all wildlife, that's how we roll.
Eventually, we all made it to the small complex of pools on the southern slopes of the hill, and began to find Large Red, Common Blue and Emerald Damselflies.
|A female Emerald Damselfly
|A pair of Common Blue Damselflies mating
|The group enjoying lunch whilst watching some elements of adult damselfly life cycle. Thank you to Anne Gascoigne for use of the photo.
Returning down the hill, half the group explored a conifer plantation for roosting dragons and bird life, whilst the rest of us visited another pool, across some rough ground. Here were many more Emerald Damselflies, some just emerging as adults.
|A fresh Emerald, just out of its larval pyjamas
|Common (I think) Tern with a fish and a pair of Black Guillemots on an abandoned pier
|The empty larval skin (exuvia) of an Emerald Damselfly. Thank you to Wendy Witten for its retrieval
|A male Emerald Damselfly
|Emerald Damselflies emerging as adults
|The same pair, busily inflating their wings
My thanks go to the folk who came along on the day to share my enthusiasm and delight at watching these charismatic insects.