Sunday, May 22, 2016

Phu Khieo ... back on track

Location: Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, Chaiyaphum
Date: Saturday 21st May, 2016
Habitat: a.s.l. 500-900, small ponds (some temporary) densely covered in trees

Well, following a few weeks of fairly heavy rain I decided to charge my camera once more and head out. I had recently visited Pa-la-U Waterfall in Hua Hin (I have just got married and it was my one sneaky trip on my honeymoon). Anyway, it turned out to be awful. Everything was dry and wilting - including me. I saw a few fairly common species, but the whole day was a washout - or dried out? -save spotting even more awesome elephants waddling about. So, camera back in the cupboard and waiting for the rains. Well, they finally came and with it, my enthusiasm. Now, when Saturday comes, so does my desire to get out there. I decided upon a regular place that I KNOW has many more species for me to find. Most of which are extremely rare and it will take my whole life to find. OMG what a shame ... searching for odes forever. That is such a travesty. Honest. Also, now being married and poor, it is within easy reach (two hours) and I don't have to stop there. So, Phu Khieo it was.

However, most visitors (including me) do the river and then the lakes at the top. Yet, I have done those to death and have been thinking about other species that are supposed to be there. Therefore, I decided to worm my way up the 23 road to the top ... I must have stopped 20 times. There are so many little ponds now. It took me 5 hours to do so, but I managed to spot a few new species for Phu Khieo along the way ... Ceriagrion azureum were out in force in many of the small ponds, though, oddly, the males were all very young (whiteish green) and not that striking  azure blue. However, the odd thing was that they were ALL copulating and all young males. I have seen it the other way round, but never young males. Is this normal? Who knows? Even stranger is the fact that I haven't ever seen this species here. Also, Indolestes anomalus, a species I had bumped into and was common at one small pond in Petchabun (Nam Nao), I found for the first time here. Likewise, it was abundant and all of them seemed to be busy copulating. How did I miss these species last year? 
However, I suppose the highlight of the day has to go to a common species that I regularly see but have seen for the first time. Huh? I Hear you say. Well, it is Anax guttatus, a species I come across often, but NEVER get to photograph it. I kind of only count species once I have recorded them photographically. This time, however, I got that chance and it paid off (though the background was dark). I must admit I am very happy with these photos. Anyway, things look like they are turning out for the best and I hope to add many more species this year ... 

My best photos of the day:

And my new "old" species ...

Next trip: Anywhere I can get to use my camera a lot ... I really enjoyed yesterday!