Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Season Just Keeps Going...

Location: Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (Chaiyaphum)
Date: Saturday 21 July, 2018
Habitat: Swampy areas and somewhat flooded streams

Well, after an awesome trip to Chantaburi, I had the bit between my teeth and was on a mission to add more species to my list. It had been pouring it down all week and, even though it was raining on the Saturday morning, I managed to prise myself out of bed at 6.00am and get on the road. Once I arrived at the entrance, it was raining. Unperturbed, I entered and started my usual rise to the top, stopping off at as many places as possible en route. I targeted the streams and swampy areas nearer the top. However, it soon became obvious that the streams were going to be no-go areas -- they were heavily swollen and some were belting through. I did notice three Burmagomphus divaricatus (2 males and 1 female) high up in the treetops, obviously staying well clear of river. Several Microgomphus svihleri were also skulking around in the scrub about 50 metres away from the river. It seemed to be the theme of the day as most of the rarities that can be found at this time of year were simply absent. I was at a loss. All the way up, there were just common species that I always see -- through it gave me an opportunity to get in a few improvement shots. I did eventually bump into Orolestes selysi, though they were incredibly skittish and in low numbers. I believe that everything was high up in the tree canopy trying to get as much sun as possible and steering clear of the horrible conditions below (though the leeches were having a field day). However, possibly due to the absence of the Lyriothemis species that I have seen there on numerous occasions that is yet to be described, it possibly opened the door to me seeing another very similar-looking Lyriothemis species. Right at the death, I noticed a solitary red specimen in a tree overhanging a swampy area in the gloom. It was in the other side and out of reach, but I did manage to fire off a couple of record shots into the gloom with a long lens. Looking at the shots, I knew what it was straight away: Lyriothemis elegantissima. A new species for my records!!! A beautiful species that I may have seen before but misidentified it as the other red Lyriothemis species. And that was it. plenty of common species knocking about but nothing to shout about, until I was rescued at the end by a super-special species!

Best Photos of the day: 

Tetrathemis platyptera... a common resident but copulas are hardly ever seen!
Ceriagrion azureum, female... my first photo of it not as part of copula
Orthetrum luzonicum, male... I never see it at this stage... looks so cool too!
cool Euthygomphus yunnanensis, male. A fairly common sighting at PK.
Orolestes selysi, male... rarely seen but very beautiful when it shows
Orolestes selysi, hyaline male and my first sighting of the female
Lestes dorothea, teneral female... a very common species this year
Indolestes anomalus, female ovipositing...
... and there were copula everywhere!
Neurothemis fulvia, male...
... and female...
Shiny! Cratilla lineata calverti, teneral male... probably the most common species in the forest.
Lathrecista asiatica asiatica is a common resident
Always common, but even more so this year... Potamarcha congener, male
Crocothemis servilia servilia, male.. it is years since I last photographed this species
Burmagomphus divaricatus, female...
...and male...
The ever-present Orolestes octomaculata, female...
...and male...
And introducing a new species for my records... Lyriothemis elegantissima (just wish it wasn't just a record shot)

Some other interesting things...

The Water Snow Flat (Tagiades vajuna vajuna
Sleeping like a log... well, on a log anyway
An awesome lantern bug... the first I have seen at PK

Cool beetle...
These trees are lethal and everywhere in the swampy area!

  The Common Posy (Drupadia ravindra boisduvalii)
A very common resident in the temporary ponds...
Stay away from angry animals!

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