Thursday, 27 June 2013

Where do you have your lunch?

Sometimes I am very lucky and manage to have my lunch in one of the bird hides. And what better way to get to your lunch spot than to walk along this path serenaded by invisible songsters.

But days like today it is hard to get time to eat anything as there is so much going on. I am just reading Dragonflight: In Search of Britains Dragonflies and Damselflies by Marianne Taylor  and although I am finding it an entertaining and manageable way to learn more about these amazing creature it is a bit of a chatty ramble; rather like I am doing now. So I was delighted to watch a pair of common blue damsels pair up as she describes and try to get into the  'cop' position that is commonly called a wheel but Marianne likens more to a heart shape. The male grasps the female behind the head and the female then has to get the tip of her abdomen with a receptacle called a 'spermatheca' into position below the base of the male's abdomen to collect his sperm. That might sound relatively simple but the male has already transferred his sperm from his primary genitalia at the tip of his abdomen into the secondary genitalia at the abdomen base from where the female will collect it.  But this pair found it all too much hard work and flew off together to try again later.

Then there were the common terns flying to and fro a few metres in front of the hide (quite impossible for me to photograph) diving constantly to collect fish to feed the young on the island over on the far side of the lake;  a pair of canada geese with three chicks passing by and a swan having a wash and brush up just under the window.

And that was just what was going on outside. Inside the hide it was just as busy with a spider joining me as a lunch companion. I haven't got round to ID for spiders yet; I think the dragonflies and damselflies are going to keep me busy this summer, oh and there are a few grasses to get to grips with as well.
 This might look like just a strip of grass but clouds of common blue Enallagma cyathigerum and  possibly blue-tailed damselflies Ischnura elegans flew up as I walked through later on.

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