Yesterday I went down to the small wood alongside Clara Bog, a sort of palate cleanser after supermarket shopping to stretch the legs and try to air out the headache out of its squat in my brain. I wasn’t really expecting to be very engaged in those circumstances, but as it turns out there were more varieties of damselfly than I think I’ve even seen flitting about near the end of the path. I’m told we have 13 species of dragonflies and 11 of damselflies in Ireland. I was seeing a lot of different types of both, though of course I also need to allow for the differences between the males and females too. To finish it all off there were teeny tiny frogs. The problem? I had 2 percent charge left on my phone. I enjoyed the afternoon but got no pictures for research and sharing.
Work was really irritating me by evening, so as soon as I could in good conscience call it a day I headed back with my better charged phone (but not my camera) and met a friend with amazing patience who puts up with me oohing and aahing over random bits and pieces. There were enormous dragonflies, bigger than she’d seen before and lots more of the teeny tiny frogs, so I hope that was better than the stinky penis experience she had on our last walk. I carefully didn’t ask.
Everything moves too fast. Especially the frogs, or rather it felt like the frogs should have been manageable. For all they were small they were gone in a blink, to much speculation about Ranine Olympics.
I was lulled into a false sense of capability by a grasshopper early on
I’m not sure I’ve seen an Irish grasshopper up so close since my teens, I was surprised at the green – turns out I am far more used to the Common Field grasshoppers which are more brown than this, which I *think* is a Common Green grasshopper, especially since the latter likes wetlands. (if bugs don’t bother you too much it’s worth clicking to see the bigger versions of these I think. )
After that I had the usual pleasure of Bumblebees pretty much completely ignoring me
Next up were the damselflies. There were not as many nor as many varieties as yesterday, but it was later in the day today. Turns out, now I’ve researched a bit, that the best time to see them is from 10:00 to 16:00 and the day must be at least 15oC if you want them warmed up and active. The best sort of days if you want to get a good look and an overall impression of their flight and so on is a sunny day with plenty of cloud movement, when it clouds over and gets cooler you have a better chance of finding them resting on low lying branches and plants near pools, ready for their closeups. Today I was seeing them later in the evening and it was very warm with a lot of midges (ask me how I know) so any that were out and about (still plenty) were far too busy getting their dinner to let me try to see them or take pictures, particularly, again, the HUGE ones.
When we did come across two damselflies kind enough to pose – one a goldish brown and the other a gorgeous emerald – the camera couldn’t discern them enough from the grass to focus on them, which was unfortunate. The electric blue ones wouldn’t let me even try.
A dragonfly must have taken pity on me because I got some decent shots, it might be a female Common Darter, but I need to do more research. Again, these are pretty small in case you hate bugs 🙂
The large ones contented themselves to occasionally buzz us.
The frogs.. well I tried.
I was thrilled to find a load of the little brown bugs we used to call hoppers, we used to spend ages gently touching the back of their bodies to make them hop apparently impossible distances. Looking them up it seems they’re called Common Frog Hoppers and, I absolutely did not know this, are the bugs responsible for Cuckoo Spit on plants. It can jump similar distances as fleas can, but with a much heavier body.
Then there was this guy.
I currently have NO idea what it is but the colour was great and it also seemed to hop. It might be a Green Leaf Hopper? I need to do some more looking up.
I got savaged by biting and stinging insects (ow, ow ant bites, ow) and finished up with some non moving targets