Tuesday, 30 August 2011

North Wales Day 3

it rained today. I mean it really rained, so we decided to go to a little village where there apparently was one of my mum's favourite coffee shops, only to find when we got there that the coffee shop was shut, and that there wasn't a great deal going in the town, so we decided to move on.
we moved on, and ended up at some random lake called llyn cwm bychan which was well hidden within the hills and mountains. It was pretty spectacular even in the rain and fog! As we drove along the edge to reach the car park I spotted a little grebe, but it was the marshes along the car park side that really caught my attention,.,as i was still hopeful of finding a black darter, or even a small red damselfly, so whilst my family went for a walk up a hill, I set off to explore the sedge and wet fields.
obviously in the rain I would stand little chance of finding anything-but I was not perturbed, and set off through the reeds, hoping to flush something. The first thing I found was a dead sheep, hidden below the water. But then my fortune changed and my found my first odonata against the odds, a female emerald damselfly was resting on the reeds so I got down and took some photos.

-female emerald damselfly
then, in another clump of grasses I found a male, sat looking rather handsome, covered in droplets from the ever present fog.

-Male emerald damselfly

As I walked round the same area as i found the damselflies i found a common blue damselfly, another to add to my list for the day, and then i flushed my first dragonfly. I tried to track it down but It took a while, but when I eventually I discovered it was a common darter. It's quite a young specimen, but looking rather dashing with the droplets of fog on its eyes.

-Common Darter

continuing around I spotted more emerald damselflies, plus a couple of blue tailed as well as a couple of common blue damselflies, so it was turning into a size able list, especially for a rainy day.

-Common emerald damselfly male
I had nearly entered the final section of the reeds, on the far side to where I started I spotted another dragonfly, this time the extensive black on the underside was a big give-a-way that I had found my first black darter outside that one juvenile male in scotland. this specimen is a Young male i think, though it may be a female. It was very obliging for a photo...

-Female black darter
Then after seeing one, there began to be more, I spotted another. This one was an almost mature immature male, if that makes sense. What I mean is that its almost all black, but not completely, and therefore not fully mature.

-mature immature male black darter
I continued going all over the marshes finding more darters and emerald damselflies, including males.

-common emerald damselfly

Then I spotted another damselfly, that at first I didn't recognise but it quickly came to me based on the red legs that it was a small red damselfly-my first and new tick for the holiday. i took 5 photos, noted that a grass stem was in the way and stupidly decided to move it. In doing that I managed to scare it away, and more than that lost it too, even though damselflies fly so slow.

My stupidity detracted from the joy of finding a new species and being able to touch it and view really close, and it ruined my day. But still, it was great to see, and enjoy the few photos that I managed to get!!

-small red damselfly
there continued to be other damselflies, but I failed to relocate the small red that I really wanted, even though i searched everywhere. My guess is that it must have landed on one of the plants in the water that I was unable to reach.

-Common emerald damselfly
Moving back and forth across the marsh i spotted more and more black darters, including 2 fully grown males within 1m squared of each other, but there were others too, of all ages, though seeing my first fully black male was pretty special and the highlight of my day-which has been good, considering I had written off my chances before I'd even started looking due to the weather.

-Female black darter

-Male black darter
by now I was so desperate to try and find the small red again that I was heading back to areas i had only gone through once, but when i finally looked there i found a newly emerged common darter, still next to its larval case.

-Common Darter
moving back into more familiar territory still without the damselfly, though there were still damselflies around, including emerald still being rather showy.

-Emerald damselfly

one final look round, this time showing my parents the sights of the marshes and i found another couple of stunning male black darters that were very obliging for a photo.

-Male black darter

so that was the final specimen that I saw all day, though the afternoon brightened up there wasn't much going on where we went, though I spotted an unusual spider

-unusual spider

by the end of the day there wasn't a cloud in the sky, which is ironic because i didn't see any dragonflies, although it was a very good day.

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