Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nam Nao: A Year in the Making (February - Part 2)

Location 1: Helicopter Pad Lake, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 
Date: Saturday, 25th February, 2012.
Weather: Scorching hot, with blazing sunshine
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Low
Leech bites: 2 (and stung on my finger twice by a bee)
Equipment used: Canon 60D, Canon 100 Macro Lens, Canon Macro Ring Flash.

As the song goes, "What a difference a day makes ...
Actually, it was 21 days to be precise in my case, but the sentiments are there. 
From my last visit to Nam Nao Helicopter Pad lake on 4th February, things have changed. No more scratching around for odonata sightings. It was game on from the start ... though the actual start was around 2 hours behind schedule. Somebody hit stop on the alarm and not snooze ... hmmm, I wonder who that was? Anyway, I was in luck as I had my brother's car and could zoom along the A12 after a quick coffee. I arrived just before 8.00 a.m. The sun was blazing and I could see dragonflies already from a good distance. The most obvious were the hoards of Trithemis aurora which had suddenly re-appeared. There were lots of them. In fact, as I walked around the lake and the surrounding areas a large number of the more common species had emerged. Some were fully mature adults and had possibly come out with the warmer weather around a week ago. Still, it was interesting to see such a difference in a matter of 21 days. From very very few specimens to literally hundreds and hundreds of specimens buzzing around, partaking in aerial battles and copulating en masse. It was great to see AND I managed to spot 3 new species that I have never seen before at this location: Rhodothemis rufa (Rambur, 1842), Lathrecista asiatica (Fabricius, 1798), and the biggest surprise for me, Zyxomma petiolatum (Rambur, 1842). The place just keeps getting better and better!
I did, however, have, what I thought, was a large hover fly buzzing around the back of my head. I went to waft it away and caught it with my finger. The bugger stung me twice in quick succession and left its sting in the second time. I never even saw the bee, but my finger swelled up to twice the size and went pink. I couldn't bend it and it made photography really difficult. It is still swollen and sore now.

Here's a selection of my favourite shots:

Pseudothemis jorina, teneral male - This guy will turn black,  save his dashing white stripe (though its a little yellow right now)

Orthetrum Chrysis, teneral female
 I stand corrected by Oleg!

Agriocnemis pygmaea, sub-adult male ... last visit, non. This time, everywhere.

Indothemis limbata, female

Pseudagrion rubriceps rubriceps, a tandem, followed by the wheel. Note the damaged eye of the female

Zyxomma petiolatum, teneral male
How annoying??? Whenever I see a teneral, they are always partly covered by grasses ... one day!!!

February (part 2) 25 Feb
Nam Nao Helicopter Pad (added species from the last visit, bold; new species for the lake, blue; species not seen from last visit, red)

Fam. Coenagrionidae
Aciagrion tillyardi (Laidlaw, 1919) ♂ ♀ [fairly common]
Aciagrion pallidum Selys, 1891 ) ♂ [1]
Agriocnemis femina (Brauer, 1868) ♂ ♀ [common]
Agriocnemis nana (Laidlaw, 1914) ♀ [1]
Agriocnemis pygmaea (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [common]
Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola Selys, 1877) ♂ [3-4]
Ceriagrion indochinense Asahina, 1967 ♂ [1]
Ischnura aurora (Brauer, 1865) ♂ [1]
Ischnura senegalensis (Rambur, 1842)
Onychargia atrocyana Selys, 1865 ♂ ♀ [copulas fairly common]
Pseudagrion rubriceps rubriceps (Selys, 1876) ♂ ♀ [common]

Fam. Platycnemididae
Copera ciliata (Selys, 1863) ♂ ♀ [common]
Copera marginipes (Rambur, 1842) ♂ [common]

Fam. Protoneuridae
Prodasineura autumnalis (Fraser, 1922) ♂ ♀ [very common]

Fam. Libellulidae
Acisoma panorpoides panorpoides (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [uncommon]
Brachydiplax farinosa (Krüger 1902) ♂ [common]
Brachythemis contaminata (Fabricius, 1793) ♂ ♀ [fairly common]
Diplacodes trivialis (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [1,2]
Indothemis limbata (Selys, 1891) ♂ [very common]
Lathrecista asiatica (Fabricius, 1798) ♂ [1]
Neurothemis fulvia (Drury, 1773) ♂ ♀ [common]
Neurothemis intermedia (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [uncommon]
Orthetrum chrysis (Selys, 1891) ♂ [5-6]
Orthetrum pruinosum (Burmeister, 1839 ♂ [2]
Orthetrum sabina sabina (Drury, 1770) ♂ [2 – 1 teneral]
Pseudothemis jorina Förster, 1904 ♂ [1 teneral]
Rhodothemis rufa (Rambur, 1842)  ♂ [1]
Tholymis tillarga (Fabricius, 1798) ♂ [fairly common]
Trithemis aurora (Burmeister, 1839) ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Zyxomma petiolatum Rambur, 1842 ♂ [1 teneral]

So, 30 species recorded in just two trips ... and it's still only February. Roll on the rainy season!
Next trip: March (early)