There was alot of dashing to and fro with a delicate artistic flair this week in my garden. I was just the excited spectator! I had large red damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula visitors around my pond and I wanted to capture them on camera as I’ve never taken a photo of them before.
These insects appear on hot sunny days as they are cold blooded and rely on the heat of the sun to give them energy. We’ve not had too many days like that recently but towards the end of last week the conditions were just right. My youngest went and brought me the camera so that I could keep an eye on the spot where one was resting as they had been such allusive characters in the garden in the previous weeks. Well oh boy were they hard to get on the camera – you better believe it! Once they realised they were being looked down on with some big black lens they took fright and dashed off again. No wonder! they probably thought it was a big dark cloud. They dashed here and there never resting long enough for me to focus in on them and we had such a job trying to find them again once they had flown off.
|red damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula
click on the all photos to enlarge
Finally we found the hideout – and what a perfect place to hide from the lens if you’re a large red damselfly! Growing right beside the pond is an red leafed Acer palmatum dissectum so what great camouflage. I gave some of the branches a little shake and off one flew into the air. In the end 3 of them appeared together chasing each other about the garden. We loved watching their artistic displays but if there had been a female about like in other years the displays would have been even better. I found that it was easier to take a photo when I did not cast a shadow over them. They look very much like dragonflies only damselflies hold their wings close to their bodies when they are at rest while dragonflies hold theirs wide apart.Edit to add (thanks Christine): They spend their first year of life in the pond in nymph form before they emerge looking like this. They eat flies, mosquitoes and midges especially the aggressive scottish midge.
Great detail if you click on this photo to enlarge
The British Dragonfly Society would like us UK gardeners and wildlife enthusiasts to record our sightings of Damselflies and Dragonflies as they are creating a new national atlas of sightings.
I never saw damselflies as a child
– it was only through building a wildlife
pond few years ago that I got my first glimpse of them.
I’m looking forward to more sunny days so that I can watch them again. Yesterday on my day off work I spent every available hour in the garden working – there was no time to sit and watch their antics nor sadly anytime to catch up with blogging friends. I think that everytime I tried to walk along one of the footpaths I was encroaching on their flight path as I was constantly having to dodge those little dashes of red.