Thursday, August 09, 2018

Insect hunting at Thursley Common and Oaken Wood

A day out with David hunting insects, a few weeks later than ideal. In retrospect, with searing heat on Tuesday and drizzle today, Wednesday was a serendipitous choice although when the breeze got up on Thursley it didn't feel like it.

It took a while for the dragons to appear, but when they did they were in number. Lots of Black Darter (new for me), Keeled Skimmer, Black-Tailed Skimmer, Emerald Damselfly, Common/Azure damselfly, Blue-Tailed Damselfly.

On a couple of occasions we noticed female Keeled Skimmers ovipositing and a male hovering just over; this seems to be a recognised part of their behaviour.

We got lucky with Small Red Damselfly as a couple fluttered briefly whilst we were watching a Black Darter. Wow, they are really small! Very hard to see when not flying as they look like bits of grass.

On to Oaken Wood. Not the visual feast of White Admirals we had experienced on our previous visit,  still lots to go at.

We saw a Blue which was so small, wings literally the size of a little-finger nail, we were left stumped as to what it is. Reviewing the photos, I think it is just a very small Common Blue. Perhaps the drought has resulted in smaller butterflies in the second brood?

The star butterfly was undoubtedly the Wood White, of which we saw six. David picked out the first (and most of the others), males just permanently flying a couple of feet off the ground. Such a small and dainty butterfly with those tear-drop wings! Photographing these on a plant was obviously impossible so I was reduced to trailing around trying to get a flight shot. The one below is the best of the bunch and shows the pale spot on the upper fore-wing.

David found a (presumably) female settled on a thistle and quietly fed, so an opportunity to get the macro lens doing the job it was designed for.

There is something very therapeutic about looking for insects. You are in their hands, and if they decide not to appear, that is something you just have to accept. In contrast to some aspects of birding, the slow pace and careful looking required for looking for insects is quite calming. I guess its almost over for this year but am looking forward to next year already.

1 comment:

World of Animals, Inc said...

It is incredible that you were able to take photos of these insects. These pictures are so vivid and clear, I love the quality of these photos. Thanks for the share, hope you had a fantastic weekend. Keep up the posts.
World of Animals