Dragonfly season 2013

Published November 6, 2013 in Field Notes

We had a very humid start of the year in the Strait of Gibraltar, and it’s been a long summer as well. I suppose that’s good news for dragonflies and damselflies, as there was plenty of water and we had warm temperatures up until now.But slowly, as temperatures get lower, the dragonfly activity seems to be going down. I had quite some interesting sightings, being my favorites the Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii) in Los Alcornocales and the Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) in the Malaga rivers (do they ever perch?).

A juvenile Orange-spotted Emerald in Los Alcornocales Natural Park

A juvenile Orange-spotted Emerald in Los Alcornocales Natural Park

However, the most interesting sighting was probably the Small Bluetail (Ischnura pumillio) just a couple of weeks ago. This species is quite common and is well distributed over Europe, but there are only a few records in the province of Cadiz, and certainly no breeding records. I found one female in a small puddle and, with the help of Fernando Enrique and Arturo, a few days later we could find a male as well. These small damselflies are really tiny and very similar to the locally common Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii).

Male of Small Bluetail

Male of Small Bluetail

Female of Small Bluetail

Female of Small Bluetail

Apart from these interesting records, there were plenty of occasions to photograph other common species. Dragonflies are a lot of fun to watch, but also to photograph, and there are always new ways to make the pictures more interesting, while playing with the background, different apertures, different focal lengths or perspectives. Here there are some pictures from this year.

Male of Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), a recent African colonizer to Europe

Male of Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), a recent African colonizer to Europe

A male Black Percher. A scarce species in Europe, this small dragonfly can be seen near Tarifa

A male Black Percher. A scarce species in Europe, this small dragonfly can be seen near Tarifa

Iberian Bluetails copulating

Iberian Bluetails copulating

Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope)

Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope)