Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nam Nao: A Year in the Making (November)

Location 1: Helicopter Pad Lake, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 
Date: Saturday,  24th November, 2012.
Weather: Hot, cloudy and rainy
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Less than zero
Leech bites: 22 (a new provincial record haha)

As a bit of a movie buff, I have come to learn that the best films always have an exciting start to grip you, followed by the main content of the movie to keep you engrossed, finishing with all-out action to leave you pumped with adrenaline through fear, excitement and awe. Have I instilled this knowledge into my Nam Nao project? Not even close. My project had a very slow start in February, followed by the best bit throughout June-August, and will finish no doubt with a damp squib come January. If I had had half a brain I would have started this project in August or September. That way, it would have started with a bang and finished right at the peak of the odonata season, finishing with a classic Tarantino-style crescendo of a project - in my world that would mean a new species or a few new provincial records. Not me. No. I had to start at the quietest time of the year for spotting odonates and so, will also finish during the bleak season. And this trip was far from exciting to say the least. Worse still, I know I have 2 more trips in order to conclude this project and they are going to be quieter still. My backside hurts already at the prospect of a further 600 bum-numbing kilometres on my little scooter ... and I know there won't be a lot to show for it. Once this project is finished in January, I don't think Quentin will be knocking on my door any time soon.

Now I've got my little moan out of the way, I'll continue. My first disappointment was the lack of variety on show, hence all of the above. The usual suspects were present, yet nothing much else appeared. The constantly-morphing weather wasn't much help either. Sunny. Dull. Rainy. Hot. Cool ... I was half expecting snow next. I know this drastically affects the odonates that reside here. Damselflies retreat to the long grasses and the dragonflies fly a million miles high up into the trees. So, did I spot anything? Well, of course. Agriocnemis femina femina were in their thousands... little white dots were everywhere and you could be forgiven for thinking it actually was snowing. Aciagrion borneense and Aciagrion tillyardi were very common with the latter copulating in large numbers, and Pseudagrion r. rubriceps had swelled significantly in numbers since my last trip. Aciagrion pallidum was also in larger numbers, though still low. As ever, Indothemis limbata and Trithemis aurora were the dominant species in the dragonfly world. I did, however, manage to spot a male Indothemis carnatica for only the second time at the lake. He was basking on a sandy area next to the water's edge, though he was to quick to photograph. I think that the males of this species prefer to bask in this manner, as opposed to its cousin, I. limbata which likes to perch on grasses overhanging water. I did spot a large Aeschnidae sp. charging at great speed around the perimeter of the water's edge for long periods. It was way to quick to catch or even ID. It was a dull brownish colour. It was possibly Anaciaeschna jaspidea as I have spotted a female there before, but I will never know for sure. Also, I saw two bright blue and tiny Agriocnemis-sized specimens in the marshy area (I thought that the first one was Aciagrion borneense, until I saw a second next to another A. borneense and noticed it was much smaller). Unfortunately, they vanished as I approached and didn't give me chance to look at them. Aciagrion azureum???? Maybe not, but hopefully they will be there on my next visit ... if I spot that species next time, maybe my bum won't feel so numb from the trip, after all.

Here's my best photos from the trip:

Ceriagrion indochinense, male - the only Ceriagrion specimen I saw

Ceriagrion indochinense, male

Agriocnemis femina femina, male - is that snow on its thorax?

Agriocnemis femina femina, male doing early morning exercises

Agriocnemis femina femina, male - any ideas what that protrusion is near its genitalia?

Aciagrion tillyardi, female

Aciagrion tillyardi, female

Aciagrion borneense, male

Aciagrion borneense, male

Aciagrion borneense, male

Aciagrion pallidum, male

Aciagrion pallidum, female

Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola, teneral female

Indothemis limbata limbata, the oldest female in the world

Diplacodes nebulosa, mature male

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. Aeschnidae

Unknown sp. (large brownish colour - possibly Anaciaeschna jaspidea, previously seen)

Fam. Coenagrionidae
Aciagrion tillyardi ♂  [extremely common]
Aciagrion borneense ♂ [fairly common]
Aciagrion pallidum ♂ [fairly common]
Agriocnemis femina femina ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Agriocnemis nana ♂ [ fairly common]
Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola  [fairly common]
Ceriagrion cerinorubellum
Ceriagrion indochinense ♂ [1]
Ischnura senegalensis ♂ ♀ [common]
Onychargia atrocyana ♂ ♀ [uncommon]
Pseudagrion microcephalum ♂ [2]
Pseudagrion australasiae ♂ [1]
Pseudagrion rubriceps rubriceps  [fairly common]

Fam. Platycnemididae
Copera ciliata ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Copera marginipes  [common]

Fam. Protoneuridae
Prodasineura autumnalis ♂ ♀ [common]

Fam. Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus decoratus ♂ [2]

Fam. Libellulidae
Acisoma panorpoides panorpoides ♂ ♀ [very common]
Brachydiplax farinosa ♂ ♀ [♂ very common]
Brachythemis contaminata ♂ ♀ [very common]
Crocothemis servilia ♂ ♀ [fairly common]
Diplacodes nebulosa ♂ ♀ [very common]
Diplacodes trivialis ♂ ♀ [common]
Indothemis carnatica ♂ [1]
Indothemis limbata (Selys, 1891) ♂ [♂ extremely common]
Neurothemis intermedia atalanta ♂ [1]
Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum ♂ [common]
Neurothemis tullia tullia ♂ ♀ [common]
Orthetrum glaucum ♂ [1]
Orthetrum sabina sabina ♀ [very common]
Rhodothemis rufa ♂ [2]
Tholymis tillarga ♂ [1]
Trithemis aurora ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Trithemis pallidinervis ♂ ♀ [fairly common]

 Location 2: Stream at the Heaquarters, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 
Date: Saturday, 24th November, 2012.
Weather: Dull, dull, dull
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Zero
Leech bites: 0

Bad day? Bad timing? Bad eyesight? I don't know. What I do know, however, is that virtually all residents at the stream had vanished. Only decent numbers of Coeliccia remained (except C. c.f. loogali, which has also disappeared) and the ever-present Copera v. vittata, the latter which I can never photograph properly!  I also spotted a solitary Euphaea ochracea and that was it. I trudged along an incredibly shallow stream, only catching glimpses of shadowy Coeliccia movement.  The highlight was spotting and managing to get a half-decent photo of a copula of C. poungyi.  Still, there's always next month to look forward to...

Here are my best photos from the trip: 

Coeliccia poungyi, male - it's like photographing a needle in a darkened room

Coeliccia poungyi, copula - my first [semi] successful photo shoot 

Coeliccia poungyi, copula - the female

Nam Nao Headquarter's stream (added species from the last visit, bold; new species for the stream, blue; species not seen from last visit, red)

Family: Chlorocyphidae
Rhinocypha biforata
Rhinocypha fenestrella

Family: Euphaeidae
Euphaea ochracea  [1]

Family: Megapodagriondae 
Rhinagrion viridatum

Family: Platycnemididae
Coeliccia chromothorax ♂ ♀ [common]
Coeliccia didyma ♂ ♀ [♂ common]
Coeliccia c.f. loogali
Coeliccia poungyi  ♂ ♀ [♂ common]  
Copera vittata ♂ ♀ [very common]

Family: Protoneuridae
Prodasineura auricolor

Next trip: December

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