Spain, Andalucia, 5-8th June 2012

Male Orange-spotted Emerald
Oxygastra Curtisii
After leaving Extremadura we headed south to Andalucia. My key target species was Orange-spotted Emerald which is relatively numerous on the Rio Hozgarganta. We based ourselves at the campsite at Jimena which was ideal for exploring the area.

Videograbs from my Trip DVD. See Trip DVD's for sale.

Teneral Female Orange-spotted Emerald
Oxygastra Curtisii

During our first two days here the temperature got up to about 39 degrees celsius which was even hotter than the we experienced in Extrenadura. This area was superb and we saw some great species. We missed out on Green-eyed Hooktail (Paragomphus genei) as we may have been about a week too early. I was not too concerned I have filmed this species in South Africa.

Male Splended Cruiser
Macromia splendens

We visited this site on two mornings and saw the following:

Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis)3
Blue-Eye (Erythromma lindenii) 6
Orange Featherleg (Platycnemis acutipennis) 20
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) 2
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) 4
Pronged Clubtail (Gomphus graslinii) 2
Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus) 10
Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii) 6
Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens) 2
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) 6
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) 1
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) 2
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi)2

Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis)2
Blue-Eye (Erythromma lindenii) 20
Orange Featherleg (Platycnemis acutipennis) 10
Male Orange-winged Dropwing
Trithemis kirbyi
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) 2
Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii) 12
Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens) 3
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) 10
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) 2
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) 3

Rio Hozgarganta, below campsite, Jimena

We visited this site on twice in search of Green Hooktail Paragomphus genei although we did not locate any. We were possibly a week too early:
Male Epaulet Skimmer
Orthetrum chrysostigma
6/6/12 Mid Afternoon
Blue-Eye (Erythromma lindenii) 10
Female Copper Demoiselle
Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis
Orange Featherleg (Platycnemis acutipennis) 2
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) 3
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) 3
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) 3

8/6/12 Morning
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) 1
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) 6

We visited the Dolman pool area below Rhonda in search of Desert Darter although we were unable to find any. We were too early, this site is best visited in August/September for this species. We did however see the following:
Red-veined Darter
Sympetrum fonscolombii

6/6/12 Late afternoon
Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) 1
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)20
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) 4
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) 12
Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) 4
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) 12

7/6/12 Mid afternoon
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) 2
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) 4
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) 20
Sage Skipper
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) 20

A number of Butterflies were
seen including:

Black-veined White, Western Marbled White, Purple Shot Copper, Clouded Yellow, Sage, Small, Essex and Southern Marbled Skippers , Wall Brown, Common Blue, Mountain Argus, Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Small Copper and Knapweed Fritillary.

Large Grizzled Skipper

We visited a number of other sites:
Laguna de Medina 5/6/12 Late afternoon

Lesser Emperor Dragonfly (Anax parthenope) 1
Banded Groundling (Brachythemis impartita) 3

San Pablo de Buciete 7/6/12 Mid afternoon

Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) 1
Blue-Eye (Erythromma lindenii) 1
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) 15
Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) 1
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) 1
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) 1
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) 3
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) 1

Los Angeles Rio Guadiaro 7/6/12 Mid afternoon

Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) 1
Blue-Eye (Erythromma lindenii) 2
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) 10
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) 3

Spain, Extremadura 3-5th June 2012

My friend Dave and I visited Extremadura as part of a two week trip across Spain and France in search of Dragonflies. A key reason for the trip was to obtain footage of some species that are extremely rare or extinct in the UK. In addition to this we searched for those Iberian and French species which were also available.

Rio Hurdano 

Along the road towards El Gasco. We visted here twice but our first visit was abandoned due to cold and overcast conditions.

Western Demoiselle (Calopteryx xanthostoma) 10
Blue-Eye (Erythromma lindenii) 20
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) 3
Orange Featherleg (Platycnemis acutipennis) Common
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) 20
Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus) 6
Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus) 2
Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus) 20
Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii) 1
Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens) 3
Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) 1
Large Pincertail
Onychogomphus uncatus
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) 1
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) 3
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) 5

We were possibly a little early for bigger numbers of Oxygastra and others have seen Boyeria irene and Gomphus graslinii here although we missed these. The highlight at this site was probably our first sightings of Splendid Cruiser Macromia splendens.

Parque de la Mujer
We visited this site twice. Our first visit was just as a random stop on the way back from the Rio Hurdano. Although only a small village pond, this site was very good for Dainty Damselfly.

Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) 1
Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum) 10
Blue-Eye (Erythromma lindenii) 10
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) 2
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) 3
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) 4

Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) 6
Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum) 20
Blue-Eye (Erythromma lindenii) 10
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) 2

Male Dainty Damselfly
Coenagrion scitulum

Our second visit was late afternoon and there were more Dainty Damselfies with many tandem pairs egg laying.

Embalse de Arrocampo 
A well known site for Long Skimmer that we visited twice. Also a good birding site where we had amongst other things, Savi's Warbler, Purple Gallinule and Black-shouldered Kite.

3/6/12 Mid Afternoon
Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) 15
Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) 20
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) 1
Banded Groundling (Brachythemis impartita) 12

Iberian Bluetail
Iscnura graellsii

4/6/12 Early Morning
Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) Common
Lesser Emperor Dragonfly (Anax parthenope) 2
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) 2
Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) 30

Male Banded Groundling
Brachythemis impartita

Male Long Skimmer
Orthetrum trinacria

Male Western Clubtail
Gomphus pulchellus

Secadero del Saute
Two fishing lakes visited only once held the following

Scarce Emerald Damselfly (Lestes dryas) 3
Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) 4
Lesser Emperor Dragonfly (Anax parthenope) 1
Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus) 2
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) 6
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) 2

Garganta Pedro Chate
A river a couple of kilometres south of Secadero del Saute

Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus) 1

La Serena
We stopped at a small stream whilst driving through the area and had the following on 5/6/12:

Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) 6
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) 6 (1 unusual blue individual )
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) 3

We based ourselves at Camping Monfrague in the Monfrague national park. This place is one of the most famous birding sites in Spain or indeed Europe.
Although not a birding trip we did find a little time to get some of the speciality birds including:

Spanish Imperial Eagle
Black Vulture
White-rumped Swift
Black Stork
Plus plenty of other great birds.

La Serena

Holland, Dragonflies 18-21/5/12

Male Norfolk Damselfly
Coenagrion armatum
My friend Dave and I had a long weekend in Holland to search for Dragonflies. This was my fifth visit to the country in two years as it holds a number of species that are very rare in the UK or have a potential for vagrancy and colonization.

We camped for three night at De Kluft Camping .
This site was chosen as it is situated in the Weerribben-Wieden National Park which is a fantastic lowland marsh reserve. I compare it to places in Norfolk but a whole load better.
De Weerribben holds a small population of Norfolk Damselfly although they can on be visited by arranging a permit and a boat. I had seen them in 2010 but was happy to go for seconds to improve my video footage.

At this time of year De Weerribben also holds Large White-faced Darter and huge numbers of more widespread species such as  Downy Emerald, Scarce Chaser and Norfolk Hawker. Overwintering Siberian Winter Damsel can also be found at this time of year with a little patience.

Teneral Male Large White-faced Darter
Leucorrhinia pectoralis

Teneral Female Large White-faced Darter
Leucorrhinia pectoralis

We were early in the season so all the Large White-faced Darters we saw were immatures and tenerals.
We saw no adult males on this trip although I had seen them well in 2011.

Female Northern White-faced Darter
Leucorrhinia rubicunda

We also visited more acidic heathland sites at Vledderveen, Kootwijkerveen and Tongerense Heide to search for both White-faced and Northern White-faced Darter and Irish Damselfly.

     Ewa MiƂaczewska

Identifying female pectoralis from rubicunda can be quite difficult. Notice how the 7th segment spot extends to the end of the segment in pectoralis and is broader with a more square base which is also present on the spots on segments 4 to 6. The amount of yellow suffusion in the wings is variable.

Near Adult Male Northern White-faced Darter
Leucorrhinia rubicunda

Mature Male Northern White-faced Darter
Leucorrhinia rubicunda

Male rubicunda is very similar to dubia (White-faced Darter) but the pale leading edge along the entire length of the wing and the red pterostigma are diagnostic. The pale leading edge only goes from the wing tip to the costa in dubia. 
Immature male White-faced Darter
Leucorrhinia dubia

Teneral Female White-faced Darter
Leucorrhinia dubia

Teneral Female White-faced Darter
Leucorrhinia dubia

Male Irish Damselfly
Coenagrion lunulatum

Male Irish Damselflies have obvious green eyes and pale green underside of the thorax. The second segment marking is also diagnostic.

Male Irish Damselfly
Coenagrion lunulatum

We had a very successful trip connecting with all of our target species. We were also lucky with some nice warm weather. In addition we saw Black Woodpecker, Bluethoat, Goshawk and Nightingale which were nice bonuses.

South Africa, St Lucia, Kwazulu Natal  27/11-9/12/2011

Getting to South Africa from Melbourne proved to be a real saga. We were diverted via Hong Kong as we failed to make our connection in Sydney due to bad weather in Melbourne. When we did arrive in Johannesburg, our bags didn't! We met our Daughter at Joberg and then flew to Durban, where we picked up our hire car and drove up the coast to St Lucia. Our base for two weeks.

I had briefly been to St Lucia in 2010 as part of South African birding trip. I was keen to return and thought it a great place to combine a family trip with some Dragonfly filming and birding.

Videograbs from my South Africa 2011 and 2010 Trip DVDs. See tab at top of page.

Male Vagrant Emperor
Anax ephipigger

Another draw for me was that it was a good place for Vagrant Emperor Anax ephipigger which I had seen the previous year but not filmed. I had also seen this species earlier in the year in Cornwall but again it eluded the Camera.

We based ourselves at Ndiza Lodge in one of their cabanas. Our bags eventually arrived a couple of days later. This place is ideally situated for early morning walks on the Igwalagwala trail as the start of the trail is only a few hundred yards from the lodge.

Livingstone's Turaco

I walked the trail every morning and saw the following species in the area around the Igwalagwala trail (Bold indicates the most sought after species):
Natal Robin-chat
Purple-crested Turaco

Spur-winged Goose 
White-faced Whistling-Duck 
Long-tailed Cormorant 
Goliath Heron 
Woolly-necked Stork 
Yellow-billed Kite 
African Fish-Eagle 
African Goshawk 
Water Thick-knee 
African Jacana 
Gray-headed Gull 
Lemon Dove 
Red-eyed Dove 
Tambourine Dove 
African Green-pigeon
Livingstone's Turaco 
Purple-crested Turaco [
Klaas' Cuckoo 
Little Swift 
White-rumped Swift 
African Palm-swift 
Narina Trogon 
Brown-hooded Kingfisher 
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 
African Hoopoe 
Crowned Hornbill 
Trumpeter Hornbill 
White-eared Barbet 
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird 
Brown Scrub-robin
Scaly-throated Honeyguide 
Golden-tailed Woodpecker
Barn Swallow 
Lesser Striped-swallow 
Black Sawwing
Common Bulbul 
Sombre Greenbul 
Yellow-bellied Greenbul 
Terrestrial Brownbul 
Eastern Nicator (Nicator gularis)
Klass's Cuckoo
Bar-throated Apalis [sp] (Apalis thoracica)
Rudd's Apalis [sp] (Apalis ruddi)
Green-backed Camaroptera 
Ashy Flycatcher 
Red-capped (Natal) Robin-chat 
Brown Scrub-robin 
Woodward's Batis 
African Yellow White-eye 
Collared Sunbird 
Amethyst Sunbird [
Narina Trogon
Black-backed Puffback 
Southern Boubou 
Square-tailed Drongo 
Fork-tailed Drongo 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling 
Violet-backed Starling 
African Pied Wagtail 
House Sparrow 
Spectacled Weaver 
African Golden-weaver 
Southern Brown-throated Weaver 
Lesser Masked Weaver 
Forest Weaver 
Grosbeak Weaver 
Common Waxbill 

Banded Mongoose and Vervet Monkey

Southern Banded Snake-Eagle

Staying at St Lucia meant that we got to drive through the Ismangaliso Park (Previously known as the Greater St Lucia wetlands) many times as the beach at Cape Vidal was Alison and Kirsty's favorite beach.

Greater Kudu

Common Bushbuck

Male Pied Spot
Hemistigma albipunctum

This provided opportunities for mammal watching along the way as well as some great dragonfly Spots. I also managed to catch up with Southern Banded Snake-eagle which I had missed in 2010.

A marsh area with a walking trail near the entrance to the park was also a great place for dragonflies.

Who's been walking on my fresh concrete?

Female Portia Widow
Palpopeura portia
Female Green Hooktail
Paragomphus genei
Dwarf Percher
Diplacodes pumila

Male Robust Skimmer
Orthetrum robustum
I paid a visit to the nearby Monzi golf course where I anticipated there would be some pools to irrigate the course. This proved to a good move, and I found a nice little pool with a number of Dragonfly species present.

Male Blue Basker
Urothemis edwardsii

Male Red Basker
Urothemis assignata

Grizzled Pintail
Acisoma panorpoides

Masai Sprite
Pseudagrion massaicum

We visited Hluhluwe Imfolosi Park on two occasions which is about an hours drive from St Lucia.
The park holds good numbers of White Rhino and smaller numbers of Black. Unfortunately we failed to find the latter and also missed seeing an Lion.

White Rhinoceros
 We saw good numbers of Elephant and had some scary moments when we had to reverse the car pretty quickly.

Southern Giraffe with attending Red-billed Oxpecker



Cape Buffalo