The Red Damselfly Visit : Pyrrhosoma nymphula

posted in: Gardening | 20
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
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.  

red damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula
   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.
red damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula
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.
Rosie Nixon
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Rosie is based in Perth, Perthshire as a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature in her own garden and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the Scottish outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at the only photographic gallery in Scotland - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh.

20 Responses

  1. Ryan

    Your pictures and the damselflies are so beautiful. I will keep an eye out now and report back on the survey. Thanks for highlighting it to me.

    Also, I have just posted on how red is a dominant colour at the moment and your post links briliantly.


  2. PatioPatch

    thanks for your beautiful images – did not know there were red damsels. Great survey link too.

    always a pleasure to visit your blog – pure inspiration

    all the best

  3. Cyndy

    Rosie, Those are such beauties you've captured! Here in Connecticut rain and early warm weather have brought out our dragonflies too.

  4. Antique ART Garden

    Excellent detective work and excellent photos ! I can't even photograph a bird half the time without it being fuzzy ! Thanks, Gina

  5. Poetic Shutterbug

    These damselflies are so colorfully vibrant. I've not seen them before so this is quite a treat. They are beautiful

  6. msdewberry

    I was wondering if damselflies were the same thing as the dragonflies I know about and then saw the answer in one of your comments. Beautiful captures here. All of them!

  7. Noelle

    What a "pretty" insect. I can see why you wanted to take pictures of them. I do hope you have a wonderful time with your family 🙂

  8. maiaT

    Very beautiful shots, the last macro is amazing.
    I could never take a picture of them and now I know why; you have help, the kids.
    Have a nice time with your family!

  9. Jan n Jer

    Have never seen a red dragon fly…only the blue ones. also didnt know the females were called dameselflies! Great photos and very informative!

  10. Floridagirl

    Beautiful creatures! Really love that photo on the Japanese maple. We seem to have a plethora of damselflies and dragonflies here at PITV. Supposedly, they help control the mosquito population. : )

  11. covnitkepr1

    And I thought I was already a follower of this blog…well I am now . I invite you back and perhaps follow me as well. Thanks for the gracious comment you left.

  12. Kala

    What a beautifully colored insect and the detail of the wings is so lovely!

  13. Melanie

    I'm glad you were able to get those Lovely photos Rosie. Sounds like you had fun! I didn't know about the difference between Damsel flies and Dragon flies. Enjoy visiting with your family.

  14. Christine B.

    I've never noticed any damselflies here in my yard and only a few dragonflies. Which is strange…we have a ton of mosquitos and I know the dragons love that. What do damselflies eat?

    Christine in Alaska

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