Monday, May 23, 2016

181. Anax guttatus (Burmeister, 1839)

Number: 181  
Family: Aeschnidae    
Genus: Anax    
Species: Anax guttatus 
Common name(s): Pale-Spotted Emperor   
Synonyms: N/A    
Habitat: Mid-upland small pond 
Province(s) sighted: Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (Chaiyaphum)  
Sightings (by me): Common (though photographing them is another story) 
In flight (that I have seen): May-October    
Species easily confused with: Anax indicus; Anax parthenope julius; Anax panybeus

I was stood in the middle of a shallow pond, bitten to death by horse flies, mosquitoes and leeches. It was an overcast area of the small pond with light fading fast. Suddenly, a large Anax sp. appeared from nowhere and started whizzing around the little pond desperately in search of a mate. This was my chance to add another Anax species to my list. However, it had to be the worst place to do it - it was too dull and enclosed. Worse still, a second male appeared and a million aerial battles ensued. However, I noticed that at one end of the pond, the wind would whistle through causing this big guy to stop momentarily. I edged around to the other side of the pond and set myself up. Basically, I sat in the pond with leeches digging into my arse. Still, I was going to get it this time. As I waited and waited, then I noticed a Lestes sp. to my right. I know that L. dorothea also lives somewhere at PK and turned towards it to see. It was L. elatus (I think). As I turned back Anax guttatus was right there in front of me, hovering as I had predicted. Perfect. As I lifted my camera, the wind dropped and it was off.... aaaarrrrggghhh! Missed it again. And this time it seemed to disappear. I was about to stand up and pull the leeches off my body when it swooped back down to the edge of the other side of the pond. I waited again and the wind picked up. He stopped, though a little further out. But I got my shots in and I am extremely happy with them. I know you can get better shots of dragons in flight, but I don't care. I know how hard I worked to get these ... and I finally did it! I managed to capture a rare photo of a very common species. Well, it's actually not that common where I live, though I do see it now and then, and it isn't rarely photographed, though I always find it impossible. Now I just need to find it in better lighting. Until the next time...

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!