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Monday, 10 July 2017

Ticknall Limeyards - on 1st June, 2017

I'm trying to catch up with posts on some of the trips out that I've made over the past couple of months.

Although, several years ago, I saw a Red-eyed Damselfly only about 5 miles (8 km) from my home, I only managed one poor image. Furthermore it was in a place where it shouldn't have been as the habitat was wrong. Return visits didn't yield a repeat sighting, but I did find an inaccessible pond on a nearby private estate, which looked as if it was ideal for the species. Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to meet the Land Manager of the estate, and he is extremely knowledgeable about, and supportive of, the wildlife under his charge. He informed me of a publicly accessible place for Red-eyed Damselfly. 

My first visit to Ticknall Limeyards turned out to be a little early in the year and didn't even look promising as there were no lily pads to be seen. However, I totally trust the word of the gentleman who informed me of the location, and returned on this first day of June. There weren't too many lily pads around, but there were Red-eyed Damselfly. Sadly the pads were all well out into the water, so no close-up photography was possible, but I did manage to get some images that were a considerable improvement on my previous attempt!

Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) (male) - Ticknall Limeyarrds
Unfortunately, I did not see a female of the species. I will have to return here before their season is over.

There were other damselflies around, but I spent little time on them.

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
There were a few teneral damselflies showing absolutely no colour or markings to give a clue to their identity. I think that this one might be a female Common Blue as there seems to be a 'spine' under segment 8.

possible Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (teneral female) - Ticknall Limeyards
Very visible due to its aggressive behaviour was a male Four-spotted Chaser.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
The sun had been somewhat intermittent for the first part of my visit, but then there was a more prolonged period of sun and a male Broad-bodied Chaser appeared, and posed quite obligingly.

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) (male) - Ticknall Limeyards
It had been an interesting late-morning visit, but I now had to return home for lunch. I'm hoping to revisit this location next week.

My next post should - all things being equal - be the second part of my account of our Scottish holiday.

Thank you for dropping by.


  1. Wow Richard I think these are great photos. I still have to find some damselflies and dragonflies to practise on. I seem to be forever short of time and the dam I want to go to is quite a long walk from the house. I guess I could go partway by car, but most of it would still be on tracks that I would not consider taking the car down.
    Have a great week Diane

    1. Thank you, Diane. I hope that you do manage to find some dragons and damsels to photograph. We don't have a pond, but I did manage to photograph one of our more beautiful damselflies which strayed into our garden a couple of days ago!

      With my best wishes - - - Richard

  2. Hi Richard! Really great pictures! It must be fast that these can be photographed. They will not stay in place!

    1. Thank you, Anne. Actually, I approach these wonderful creatures very slowly. OK, so often they are gone before I manage to photograph them, but when it works I'm happy!

      With best wishes - - - Richard

  3. I'm very envious. These are great shots. What lens are you using for them?

    1. Hi Adrian. Thank you for your kind words.

      For absolutely all my photography I use a Sigma 50-500 lens. It's very versatile and if I wind the focal length back to around 150mm I can focus on an object about 3 inches in front of the lens hood! I do this for most of my insect photography. However, on this particular day, I could not get near most of the subjects, so all but two of the images were taken with the lens at the full 50mm (hand-held). Those taken at a shorter focal length were the two Large Red Damselfly images - the first was at 240mm and the second at 140mm.

      The disadvantages of the lens are its weight (I feel it after half an hour of waving it around trying to capture dragons in flight) and the large objective diameter (which means that on-camera flash is usually not an option, as the subject would probably be in shadow). I'm working on Mrs P. to get me a 150mm macro lens for my next few birthdays and Christmas!

      Best wishes - - Richard

    2. Just noticed my error it should have read "full 500mm" not "full 50mm" !!!!

  4. Beautiful images Richard, grand photos.

  5. Hi Richard and some really cracking images of the Red-eyed Damselfly. I see what you mean about the venue, we must visit together soon. All the best, John

    1. Thank you, John. I'll take you there sometime - hopefully soon!

  6. Excellent set of shots Richard. Nice to see you still photographing the dragons.

    1. I shouldn't really confess to this, Marc, but currently, they've well and truly taken over from the Little Owls.

      Thanks and best wishes - - - Richard

  7. Great series of images, Richard. I think that these macro shots are far more difficult than many people realize. Dragonflies are really quite stunning.

    1. Thank you, David. They're certainly not that easy using the equipment that I do. For each of those frames 'published', there have probably been 20-40 consigned to the bin. The difficulty is, when working 'hand-held', maintaining a static distance after focussing. A couple millimeter's movement can make all the difference as the depth of field is so small.

      My love to you both - - Richard

  8. I think I missed this post.
    I have therefore been alerted to it.
    Beautiful picture of the red eye jewelers and also the male skull dragonfly.

    Greetings, Helma

    1. THank you, Helma. It's easy to miss a post!

      Best wishes - - - Richard


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