Photo Blog

I love observing nature and the changing seasons during my Norfolk countryside dog walks accompanied by my ever-faithful canine companion Starrydog. I especially enjoy taking photos of Norfolk butterflies, wildflowers and other flora and fauna that I happen across while exploring local nature reserves. Visit my Norfolk nature photo blog to keep up to date with my photographic adventures and enjoy my butterfly photos.

Tenth Green Damselfly

Female Banded Demoiselle, Calopteryx splendens, perched on Common Knapweed

How time flies, I had a whole series of late spring early summer blog posts planned to write, got waylaid and now suddenly its midsummer already! Although this image is an imperfect “grab” shot rather than a nature study, I just had to share it because it is exciting news for our wildlife pond..

Last year I blogged about the nine damselfly and dragonfly species my widllife pond had attracted as it evolved over its six years and speculated that might be the maximum a relatively small pond like mine could achieve due to the way pond habitat changes.

Then unexpectedly on 5th July I spotted this iridescent green female Banded Demoiselle damselfly, grandly named Calopteryx splendens, its vivid emerald green contrasting beautifully against the deep purple of the Common Knapweed flowers it was perched amongst.

She represents the tenth species to have visited our Wildlife pond and garden. Not all consecutively of course, and some will never return'; we've learned that ponds evolve over time naturally to gradually fill in, undergoing an inevitable acidification in the process, which some species can’t tolerate.

The male Banded Demoiselles are blue with a clear blue band across the forewings so she definitely is a female. The species is easily confused with the Beautiful Demoiselle, Calopteryx virgo, but that species is a species of fast-flowing rivers and isn’t resident in Norfolk. In contrast Banded Demoiselles prefer slow flowing watercourses with a muddy bottom. There’s plenty of debris in mine with all our surrounding vegetation so I wonder if she was eyeing up our pond for ovipositing. Only time will tell…

Seeing Red

I spent a gorgeous bank holiday weekend pottering around our wildlife pond, watching the Azure damselflies wafting about in pairs and aerial dragonfly wars between the powder blue Broad-bodied Chaser and custard yellow Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies to rival any aeroplane dogfight as each fiercely competed for territory.

Suddenly among all the vivid blue Azures I quite literally saw red, that is, a pair of red mating damselflies! It was another first for Nar Cottage pond as they proved to be Britain's Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). Flying earlier than its cousin the Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum), it can also be distinguished by its black legs and strongly striped antehumeral markings.

This photo marks the ninth species of Odonata (dragonflies and damselfles) recorded in our wildlife pond (more on that here) and not bad for a pond thats only five seasons old...