|Graemsay Quarry (Copyright Alan Nelson)|
Last year G. has spotted some blue-tailed damsel flies at the old Graemsay quarry as he thought it was a good habitat for them, so this was where we all headed (photo above of the quarry).
It has to be said I'm not the most patient of wildlife watchers. Five minutes max any wildlife has to appear and impress. Needless to say nothing appeared so I left those with more - er- enthusiasm and persistence than me and headed back home. However they very kindly send me a text once something DID appear so I jumped in the car and headed in an orderly fashion back to the quarry.
A. was senior photographer on duty so all these are his photos which he has kindly given me permission to use. First up is a young damselfly (blue tailed) newly emerged and not yet coloured up. They are very vulnerable at this point as their legs and wings are very soft and so they cannot fly or move far. Therefore they are easy prey for fish, birds etc.
|Emerging damsel. Copyright Alan Nelson|
Can you spot her/him? Sitting on the pond weed in the middle of the photo above. Even more extraordinary is apparently it had emerged from the larval casing (which it is hanging onto) upside down. And had managed to turn itself right way up.
The pond weed seemed very popular as there was evidence of "exuvia" (the larval casing) on several fronds. Like on this piece below.
|Exuvia (larva case) Copyright Alan Nelson|
|Adult blue tailed damsel. Copyright Alan Nelson|
I have to say also that this lovely damsel is the size of a matchstick! So you need a good telephoto lens and binoculars to spot them!! Er..... a bit like this..... I was very keen to study my first sighting of a damsel and made sure I was comfortable for a good few minutes..... why stand when you can rest I say. Haha!
|It's in here somewhere! Copyright Alan Nelson|
Other creatures found were...... an ant! I used to see hundreds of these "south" but this was one of only a very few I have seen in Orkney! They are not very common here. Well apart from in one part of Stromness where apparently they escaped from the local Co-op having arrived in some produce!
|Ant. copyright Alan Nelson|
And this is a water cricket. Again not very common! This was happily living in a ditch just down from the Manse.
|Water Cricket. Copyright Alan Nelson|