Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nam Nao: A Year in the Making (January)

Location 1: Helicopter Pad Lake, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 
Date: Saturday,  19th January, 2013.
Weather: Freezing cold, then eventually mild
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Less than zero
Leech bites: 

To say the journey on my final trip to Nam Nao NP was freezing cold is an understatement. When stationary, it was simply cold. When travelling at 70-80 kms/h on the bike at 4.00 a.m. it was unbearable. I had to stop every 10 kms and I was wearing a large coat, jumper and even gloves but it wasn't enough. Eventually, a large double truck trundled along at about 65-70 kms/h. I tucked in behind it and it was almost windless in the slipstream. It was like heaven. I followed it all the way to Chumpae. Hot coffee and a puff pastry at 7/eleven and I was off again - truckless. It was freeeeeeeeeeeeeezing once more. Worse still, when I eventually reached the entrance to Nam Nao NP and started going uphill then temperature plummeted once more. It took over 3 hours to get there and I couldn't stop shivering. When I arrived at the Helicopter Pad lake, it was well and truly light, but freezing cold and the lake looked like it was on fire there was that much mist. It was that cold even the leeches couldn't be bothered biting me. Still, at least I have now completed my year-long project. Who would have thought it?

For hours I searched for odonates, but there were none. Eventually - a bit like Noah's Ark - they started to appear. Though, even by midday, it was still very quiet and cold. There were a few damsels but the dragons were really thin on the ground. Here were the specimens brave enough to make an appearance.

Welcome to a freezing, new world. A newly emerged male Prodasineura autumnalis has just crawled up this stick. I just missed his emergence. 

... and close up

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   [common]
Aciagrion borneense ♂ [uncommon]
Aciagrion pallidum   [uncommon]
Agriocnemis femina femina ♂ ♀ [common]
Agriocnemis nana ♂ [uncommon]
Agriocnemis pygmea ♂ ♀ [common]
Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola  [fairly common]
Ceriagrion indochinense   [1]
Ischnura aurora
Ischnura senegalensis ♂ ♀ [uncommon]
Onychargia atrocyana
Pseudagrion rubriceps rubriceps ♂  [1]
Fam. Platycnemididae
Copera ciliata ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Copera marginipes  [common]
Fam. Protoneuridae
Prodasineura autumnalis ♂ ♀ [very common]
Fam. Libellulidae
Acisoma panorpoides panorpoides ♂ ♀ [uncommon]
Brachydiplax farinosa 
Brachythemis contaminata ♂ ♀ [common]
Crocothemis servilia ♂ ♀ [fairly common]
Diplacodes nebulosa 
Diplacodes trivialis ♂ ♀ [common]
Indothemis limbata (Selys, 1891) ♂ [uncommon]
Neurothemis intermedia atalanta ♂ [very common]
Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum ♂ [uncommon]
Neurothemis tullia tullia ♂ ♀ [uncommon]
Orthetrum sabina sabina ♀ [very common]
Trithemis aurora ♂ ♀ [common]

Location 2: Stream at Headquarters, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 

Date: Saturday,  19th January, 2013.
Weather: Freezing cold, then eventually mild
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Less than zero
Leech bites: 
I didn't expect to see much here and it truly delivered. For my last visit here, I knew it was going to be tough. Though I did expect to see some odonates. All I did see was very little water and very few things flying around. It was simply too cold and dull. I spent only an hour there before I gave up and moved on. I didn't even get my camera out of the bag!
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  [1]

Family: Euphaeidae
Euphaea ochracea  [2]

Family: Platycnemididae
Coeliccia chromothorax ♂ [1]
Copera vittata ♂ ♀ [common]

Location 3: Exposed stream 15 kms from Headquarters, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 

Date: Saturday,  19th January, 2013.
Weather: Sunny and warm (by now)
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Less than zero
Leech bites: 

Unperturbed by the silence at the HQ stream, I asked the Rangers if there were any other streams. They pointed me in the direction of a stream I hadn't visited - or even knew existed - before. It was an arduous dirty and bumpy 15 kms trip along a dirt path to get there, but well worth it. Upon arrival I instantly got my second wind. A nice looking river that had lots of exposed areas. Great. I could even see what looked like a new species hovering above the stream. There were about 10 yellowish males carrying out battles in the sky. Unfortunately, I couldn't catch one of them in my net. They looked a little bit like Pantala flavescens, but they seemed too small, and too acrobatic. They were also extremely fast movers and never seemed to stop moving. Hopefully I can find out what they were next time I visit. 
That said, it was busy with activity all the way along the stream and it was January! I'm hoping to return in the rainy season and I may even be lucky enough to spot a few new species - it just feels right there. 

Here are the best photos of the new location:
This female is only the second I've managed to photograph and is an improvement over the last, even though it's still not the best. She was hanging around a tiny ditch along the forest path to the stream.

These were commonplace.

Even the females made a showing ... this one is ovipositing with a male guarding her and his territory (a floating branch)

One of 3 species of Chlorocyphidae I saw in the short time I was there.

Here's what I saw at the new stream (P. congener, C. lineata calverti and D. trivialis I saw in forested area en route to the stream):

Neurobasis chinensis (common)
Rhinocypha fenestrella (fairly common)
Rhinocypha biforata (fairly common)
Rhinocypha perforata limbata (common)
Copera marginipes (common)
Prodasineura autumnalis (common)
Cratilla lineata calverti (uncommon)
Diplacodes trivialis (very common)
Neurothemis fulvia (uncommon)
Neurothemis intermedia atalanta (very common)
Orthetrum chrysis (common)
Orthetrum glaucum (common)
Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum (common)
Orthetrum sabina sabina (uncommon)
Potamarcha congener (common)
Trithemis aurora (common)
Trithemis festiva (common)
Zygonyx iris malayana (uncommon)
Unidentified sp. (there were about 10 individuals soaring high above the stream)