A dam extravaganza

by Patrick Kavanagh

We’ve had a Little Pied Cormorant frequenting our dam recently and I thought I’d try to catch a photo of him. Birds were nowhere to be seen but as I sat by the dam I was able to see so much happening around me. There were myriad Blue Skimmer Orthetrum caledonicum dragonfly males, which from my reading on are the only ones of this species with the distinct powdery blue coating. Females are yellow and black, as are teneral males (having just emerged into adult form) but the latter are brighter yellow. The males were spending a lot of time chasing each other around the dam.

Male Blue Skimmer dragonfly.

The female Blue Skimmer.

Damselflies (which can be discerned from dragonflies because they fold their wings at rest) such as Eastern Billabongflies  Austroagrion watsoni and Aurora Bluetails were abundant amongst the water plants at one side of the dam.

An Eastern Billabongfly.

A male Aurora Bluetail.

Water Treaders (mesovelids) were skimming the surface of the dam and these mostly seemed coupled. Also more sedate in this area was a Scarlet Percher dragonfly and a Fishing Spider Dolomedes instabilis, which like the Water Treaders can skim across the surface of the water using surface tension to stay dry.

A pair of coupled Water Treaders.

A Fishing Spider on the floating pondweed.

In case I sound like I know what I’m talking about, I found Arachne.org and http://photos.rnr.id.au/ very helpful in identifying these species and can highly recommend a visit, as well as a visit to a dam near you.

3 responses to “A dam extravaganza

  1. These are really lovely photographs, Patrick. Am wondering what sort of camera and lens you used?

  2. Great images Patrick. I have had a fishing spider in my pond recently, and watched with amazement as she (?) dived in with her egg case well glasped in response to my approach.

    Chris Johnston: Green Gully

  3. Thanks Saide and Chris. Saide, I use a Canon 500D. The Blue Skimmer and Water Treader photos I took with my bird photography lens, a Canon 100-400L zoom, coupled with a 1.4x teleconverter. I was able to get closer to the Damselflies and Fishing Spider and used my Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro lens. I have to say, I reckon both lenses are rippers!

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