Thursday, June 19, 2014

Location:  A trip to Nam Nao environs 
Date: Saturday 07 June, 2014
  Areas visited:  Waterfall near the town centre

On my last trip, I planned a visit to somewhere new in Chaiyaphum (even though it still seems too early for Gomphids and it's June!). I awoke at 4.00am and started to prepare myself for the trip. However, heavy storms and rain were forecast (I checked on my phone) and I almost gave up any form of trip whatsoever. I decided then to look elsewhere and researched the weather at Nam Nao and it predicted cloudy weather, but no storms. So, within 5 minutes I had totally changed plans. Nam Nao it was. However, once I passed Chumphae, I started to wonder whether it was a good idea, as I want to see more species and I am pretty sure that I have recorded almost every species that resides with that area. So ... change of mind again. I decided to re-visit a waterfall I had visited once before, which is close to Nam Nao town centre. Noppadon Makbun had also visited there once before and had spotted Microgomphus chelifer. That species was my target once more. I arrived at the dirt track that leads to the waterfall and it was as bumpy and rocky as ever. Bones aching and head hurting, I finally made it to the waterfall. I had forgotten just how difficult it is to get around on the large rocks, which are extremely slippy and somewhat dangerous. After an extremely slow start, I managed to start spotting a few common species, yet the Gomphids were still very much absent. As the day progressed, the clouds began to slowly build and I wasn't confident of seeing any new species .... and certainly not M. chelifer. I finally spotted a somewhat damaged-looking teneral male Gomphid hanging on for dear life. I photographed it and knew it was Burmagpmhus species, but wasn't completely sure which species. Since then, it has been confirmed as Burmagomphus divaricatus, a species I have seen at Nam Nao before, as well as at Khao Yai NP. I did also see a Gomphid land in the reeds, close to me, but vanished as quickly as it arrived and I am not sure what species it was. The other interesting things I saw, were that of Pseudagrion pruinosum, which could be a new provincial record as I it seems to be more common along the west of Thailand and up to Chiang Mai. I also saw a yellow Oriental Vine Snake for the first time and it was small but simply beautiful. So, all in all, a good day, but with far more to come from this place as (hopefully) more Gomphids appear in July and August when I visit again.When I returned home, I had completely forgotten the name of the place and therefore can only put 'waterfall' for now until I return.

My best photos of the day:

Possibly a new record for Petchabun.

One of only a few 'Gomphid' sightings


'Ghost' specimens like this were everywhere.

 Though common, I have never seen a teneral female with so much colour on her wings before. Very strange. 

Another great sight was witnessing a courtship and oviposition of E. ochracea.

 They moved together slowly down the stem, until he simply 'flicked' her off by shaking his abdomen.
 She then oviposited under water for around one minute, before flying rapidly up into the air and then plunged back down onto another stem further away. 

And just to show you that I am not all about dragonflies, is there anything more beautiful than this?

Next trip: Hmmm ... I'll probably let the weather decide.