Thursday, 4 August 2011

Black Darter.

A couple of days ago I visited Thursley Common again but this time the conditions were far more promising .... muggy and slightly overcast with hardly a breeze so I headed out onto the acid heathland in the hope of finding something to photograph. Initially things were fairly quiet with just a brief sighting of a female Keeled Skimmer plus Brown Hawker and an Emperor busily patrolling their territories. As the sun broke through around midday the activity intensified with Skimmers and Darters zipping about erratically in every direction.

I eventually located a pair of Black Darters (Sympetrum danae) flying in tandem who decided to perch very low down above the board walk allowing a reasonably close encounter.

There was a certain amount of wing fluttering by the male as this pair struggled to maintain their composure.

Mature males are non-territorial and frequently settle on marginal vegetation to bask in the sun which provides a good opportunity to view its very distinctive colour markings including the three yellow spots enclosed within a median black patch on the side of the thorax. The black markings have a thermo-regulatory function so it adjusts its body heat by both perching at different heights and to reduce the surface area exposed in very warm conditions it will point its abdomen vertically towards the sun ... known as the obelisk position ... on this occasion it wasn't quite warm enough for that particular pose.

This is a northern species with a circumboreal distribution and fairly widespread throughout much of the UK although far more abundant in the north as it requires shallow, acid, nutrient-poor pools on heathland, moorland and bogs.   FAB.

18 comments:

  1. Not seen that speies before Frank. Great close-ups.

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  2. Are you sure it was his composure he was trying to maintain? ;)

    Great images.

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  3. You are not letting "slim pickings" for birding stop you from taking marvelous pictures. I'm so impressed.

    I scrolled down a ways and the swans are wonderful -- as is that there is such a great place to take your mum and dad! We are always happy when we find accessible nature areas like this.. my husband walks but not like he used to!

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  4. love that last shot showing the hairs on his body. too cool.

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  5. That's extremely nice, I love the dragonflies.

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  6. Great shots Frank.
    Not one I've seen before; I'll have to come down for a visit to Thursley again, when work is done.

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  7. Great macros! nothing says summer quite like a dragonfly.

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  8. Terrific shots, Frank! Your close-up photography just keeps getting better.

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  9. Cheers Adam.

    Now, now Lois ... keep it clean!

    Hi Sallie. Thanks for the compliment. I try my best to capture what I see and just hope it is of some interest to anyone who drops by.

    Thank you Theresa. He did pose very nicely for me.

    Cheers Bob.

    Thanks Keith. You know you will be welcome anytime.

    Thanks Angad.

    Thanks Tammy. Well the sunshine reached us at last!

    Thank you very much Mona.

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  10. fantastiska foton på insekter och fjärilar du visar.Ha de gott. Anita

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  11. Excellent post and a great set of images Frank, I'm affraid it's one Dragonfly I've not managed to encounter yet!!

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  12. Hi Frank, I've never seen Black darter, it's a handsome one! Hope I'm back into blogging mode! (-:

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  13. great looking Darter. And nice shots as you were able to shot without all that noisy background we always get. I like it. Beautiful shots.

    Sure you can link. :)

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  14. Superb images Frank...
    It takes a lot of patience to capture beautiful images like these.

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  15. Hi Anita. Thank you very much.

    Cheers Trevor. You'll probably have to travel to find this one.

    Hi Jen. Great to see you back.

    Thanks NatureFootstep. My lucky day with that particular individual.

    Cheers Andrew. I have plenty of that if the subject is fairly willing!

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  16. Fabulous pictures!! Well done! :)

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  17. Hi Viola. Thanks very much.

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