Close encounters of the Odonata kind began today. We are at the back end of the so-called north-east monsoon and the weather is, shall we say, interesting. The sky today was very overcast but it wasn’t actually raining so our very gracious host offered to kick our Odo tour off by driving us the famed Singapore Botanic Garden, the SBG.
[Sidenote: Singapore is besotted with TLAs – Three Letter Acronyms. Major roads all have TLAs – there’s the ECP: the East Coast Parkway, for instance. Thus, my Singapore Dragonflies of our Parks and Gardens book refers to the botanic garden as the SBG; KRP = Kent Ridge Park, and so on.]
The SBG focuses primarily on plants, as the name suggest, but with water plants involved, there is fresh water that attracts some 33 species of Odos. It is quite well known for it’s dragonflies. Since our host, David, knows the we saved some time not only by being driven there but also by being led straight to the main pond where David confidently announced, “welcome to your first Singapore dragonflies.”
It takes a while for me to get my eye back in after a winter break from spotting. It also takes a while to get to know how to drive the camera effectively with Odos as the subject. Nonetheless, both Francine and I were soon in the groove and beginning to fill our memory cards with shots of completely unfamiliar prey. Our most spectacular, because it is so different to anything in our neighbourhood, was this Common Parasol (Neurothemis fluctuans).
I was particularly thrilled to find one colourful damselfly that I was particularly keen on snapping. The photo isn’t the best but I think you can see what a stunning little critter this Ornate Coraltail (Ceriagrion cerinorubellum) is.
I think there are three ponds at the gardens but, with everything so new and with jet lag kicking in, we investigated just two before returning home to try and find out what we’d got. The most interesting find, assuming my id. is correct, was this Scarlet Grenadier (Lathrecista asiatica). It’s most interesting because it does not feature in our literature (2010) as being present in the SBG. Lucky find or mistaken id? I’m fairly confident, for a stranger.
The SBG has three main ponds, I think. We looked at just two on this first visit. This one is the small pond near the Ginger Garden and features the Amazonian water lilies. It’s a big place and Francine needs her tripod if she’s to capture some of the flora. With that and another pond to visit, clearly we’ll have to go back.
We snagged nine winged suspects in our first modest attempt – good start and already worth the trip.