Wednesday, 11 May 2011

You're beautiful...

Ever since I found my first Beautiful Demoiselle on my old local patch in Groombridge, I've been in love with these wonderful insects. Today (my birthday!) Sue and I went for a morning walk around the gardens at Hadlow College, as advised by Warren Baker (Pittswood Birds blogger) to look for them. We had a couple of hours of lovely sunshine before the clouds closed in and it went all chilly.

The gardens are gorgeous. All designed and maintained by the college students (it's an agricultural/horticultural college), they are divided up into themed sections and among the beds and avenues are a few ponds (two of them quite big), as well as lots of well-placed and often imaginatively designed places to sit and enjoy the scenery. I found some half a dozen Beautiful Demoiselles close to one of the big ponds, and spent a happy 20 minutes photographing them.

Male Beautiful Demoiselle. Just gorgeous. Unlike the teneral one I saw at Woods Mill 1.5 weeks ago this boy is fully coloured up, those broad wings deeply pigmented all the way along.

And a female. Although her colours are (slightly) more subdued than his, she was a livelier model, giving me a few wing-flicks which were so quick that I missed most of them. She was also actively hunting, until the sun went in, dashing out in short sorties and grabbing tiny midges.

There weren't too many birds in evidence, though this Chiffchaff was showing off his dance moves rather nicely. There was a Rookery in the grounds and a constant stream of Rooks were going to and fro, loaded up with food on their return journeys.

The sun didn't hang around for long, and when the cloud rolled in it was heavy, grey and menacing. Just after I photographed these two Azure Damselflies doing their thing, it started to spot with rain, and we decided to adjourn for lunch. The rain didn't amount to much in the end, but continued gloomy skies meant that the afternoon's planned meet-up with Warren has been postponed, hopefully not for long.


Warren Baker said...

Hi Marianne,
I'm pleased you found your demoiselles, they usually show up at the Gardens :-)

You did the right thing by ending your walk where you did, as you saw on my post the afternoon was a poor affair !!

ShySongbird said...

A very nice read and lovely photos Marianne. I too think the Beautiful Demoiselle lives up to its name. I find our local canalside is a good place to find them.

A lovely selection of photos on the previous post too, I especially liked the Reed Warbler.

Ken. said...

Hi Marianne.
Nice photo's of the Beautiful Demoiselle's. Well worth making the trip for.