Monday, September 7, 2015

179. Macromia moorei Selys, 1874

Number: 179
Family: Macromiidae
Genus: Macromia
Species: Macromia moorei
Common name(s): N/A
Synonyms: N/A
Habitat: Upland forested stream
Province(s) sighted: Phu Hin Rong Kla NP (Phitsanoluk)
Sightings: 3-4 males
In flight (that I have seen): September
Species easily confused with: Macromia cupricincta

At last another species to add to my list. This time in the shape of Macromia moorei. I saw one patrolling the same area of a small, clear and exposed stream. I tried again and again to get a shot in flight, but they were all terrible. Finally, it rested and I managed to get shots of it and even catch it (luckily as I wouldn't have been able to ID it properly otherwise). It's a new genus for me and, thanks to Noppadon, I am now aware that it is also a provincial record! I know that there is a Macromia species that resides at Nam Nao and Phu Khieo. I have seen it numerous times but never got anywhere near it. I now have to catch it to find out. Watch this space.


Now in the hand ...
Note his rather bland face.
 The appendages ... (ventral, then dorsal)

... and the genitalia ...

A Trip to Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park

Location:  Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park,Phitsanoluk Province
Date: Saturday 05 September, 2015 
Areas visited: Small streams (mainly exposed) and one pond

A place I had often thought about visiting but never got round to it finally materialised last weekend. Along with fellow birder, Mark Hogarth, we set out for a day trip at 3am and made it to the foothills for around 6.30. However, it is an extremely arduous climb to the top with about a million sharp turns even before you reach the park itself. I have to say, however, that it is one of the most beautiful places I have visited (including the views on the way to the top). Though the park is famous for being the hideout for the communists, it is also one of extreme beauty. It's also around 1200m a.s.l. and therefore very similar in temperature to Phu Kradeung, in Loei. Everything was set up for the perfect day. The odes, however, had other ideas. They were extremely thin on the ground, with only small numbers showing. I found a largish lake on Google Earth and decided to hit there first. Next to it was a small, clear stream which had been messed around with as there was a section of stream that had been altered with concrete walls. That said, Coeliccia loogali was the first to appear there and was easily the most abundant species throughout the park. Next, I saw several Copera marginipes and Copera vittata at the edges and deeper in the reeds. At the pond itself it was extremely quiet. I saw a large Anax sp. patrolling the edges at great speed and I am fairly confident it is Anax guttatus, though my attempts at photographing it were rather futile. There was a healthy number of male and female Aciagrion tillyardi present, too. Yet, that seemed to be it. 
I moved on to another stream which led to Huai Khamunnoi Waterfall and this one again had high numbers of C. loogali dotted around the edges. Finally I noticed a larger species which kept on patrolling the exact same area at a rapid rate. I knew it was Macromia species, but no idea which. I tried for about 20 minutes to get a shot but I had no chance. Finally it landed and I managed to shoot him and then catch it with a tiny net I had with me. Upon returning home, it turns out to be Macromia moorei, later confirmed by Noppadon Makbun, who also confirmed that it was a provincial record. I later saw another 2-3 specimens at the same stream. The only other species of note was Aristocypha fenestrella and a solitary male Coeliccia chromothorax hiding deep under cover. I moved on. I visited a couple of the waterfalls but were just that: waterfalls. Sounds stupid, but you could only view them and couldn't get anywhere near the stream, so were struck off my visiting again list. Finally, I arrived at where Mark was walking - that main loop where the communist buildings are, which also had lots of tourists. And then the rains came. And boy did it rain. Eventually, at about 2pm it stopped and we decided to go out one more time. It was a beautiful open space with lots of tiny puddles and temporary streams, yet there was literally nothing around and with the looming clouds it was time to give up. Or was it? At the only proper stream (still tiny) I noticed a yellow damsel and I knew what it was straight away: Ceriagrion fallax pendleburyi. A species I bumped into about five years ago at Doi Inthanon and my photos were awful. I tried again and failed. This species is seriously skittish. I moved on, gutted once more. Then the sun came out big time. With it, came a small number of dragonflies. Surprisingly, the first one was Sympetrum hypomelas, a stunning species I have encountered at Phu Kradeung, where it is locally common. I also saw a damaged teneral female damsel which turned out to be Orolestes octomaculata (ID by Noppadon Makbun). Two small blue male dragons then attacked each other and as quickly as they appeared, disappeared again. I am sure they were Palpopleura sexmaculata, though I will try to confirm next time. I also saw briefly, the jaw-droppingly beautiful Anax immaculifrons, orange form, though I didn't get a photo. Finally, I returned to where I saw C. fallax pendleburyi. Amazingly, a female was in the same place. I managed to get decent shots of her before tourists walked past and spooked her. There I then sat for about 45 minutes. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting ... then, from deep inside the bushes a dusky yellow figure emerged. It was a male. I managed to get a decent shot of him just as more heavily-booted walkers arrived and off into the depths it returned. Still, I was happy now. And that was it. Evening had arrived and it was time for the long journey back home. This is a place I will definitely return to ... there are definitely many more goodies to be had here (especially if it stays bright).

Best photos of the day: