Red Letter Day

Well, pink actually, but I need some poetic license. 😀

During our June trip here, Francine spotted an unusual looking dragonfly; unusual in that it was the shape of a Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythrea) but t appeared to be pink to her, as opposed to bright red. Happily, though equipped with the wrong lens, she snagged a distant picture but it was enough for me to identify it as a Violet-marked Darter/Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata). I’d never seen one but had been distracted by others’ camping difficulties and missed this gorgeous creature, too. I still hadn’t seen one. I was green with envy, to put it mildly. Actually I was as sick as the proverbial parrot.

With there being almost no dragonfly activity on farmer Luc’s lake this time around, we set off to explore a lower part of La Rigole where we had previously enjoyed a little Odonata entertainment. Here, a loop in La Rigole almost encloses a small lake, again made by a small digue [dam]. Our first look revealed very little, just a few Blue-tailed Damselflies (Ischnura elegans) which appear to enjoy quite a long flight season.

Before giving up and taking to our bikes, we set off wandering across the top of the digue itself. There was more activity here, and we soon spotted what appeared to be a Scarlet Darter perched on an ex-flower. I approached as calmly and carefully as I could down the 45° slope of the digue wall, got the monopod in position without disturbing it and stared through the viewfinder to focus. As it came into focus, the red turned to a delightful pink. Speechless! Well, not quite, what I actually muttered was “Christ, it’s a Violet!”

IMG_1879_Violet_Dropwing Just how stunning are these creatures? They are apparently very common in their range but I don’t think I could ever get blasé about these. An African species, they are slowly moving into the southern extremes of Europe  and we are on the north-western limits of their as yet small toe hold in southern France. There were actually at least three males and a female so we watched a little dragonfly sex show for a while hoping to catch the female at rest but without luck. No matter, I was already delighted.

We did eventually tear ourselves away but it was difficult for me; I could have watched for hours.

Posted in 2011 Autumn Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

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