Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nam Nao: A Year in the Making (November)


Location 1: Helicopter Pad Lake, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 
Date: Saturday,  24th November, 2012.
Weather: Hot, cloudy and rainy
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Less than zero
Leech bites: 22 (a new provincial record haha)


As a bit of a movie buff, I have come to learn that the best films always have an exciting start to grip you, followed by the main content of the movie to keep you engrossed, finishing with all-out action to leave you pumped with adrenaline through fear, excitement and awe. Have I instilled this knowledge into my Nam Nao project? Not even close. My project had a very slow start in February, followed by the best bit throughout June-August, and will finish no doubt with a damp squib come January. If I had had half a brain I would have started this project in August or September. That way, it would have started with a bang and finished right at the peak of the odonata season, finishing with a classic Tarantino-style crescendo of a project - in my world that would mean a new species or a few new provincial records. Not me. No. I had to start at the quietest time of the year for spotting odonates and so, will also finish during the bleak season. And this trip was far from exciting to say the least. Worse still, I know I have 2 more trips in order to conclude this project and they are going to be quieter still. My backside hurts already at the prospect of a further 600 bum-numbing kilometres on my little scooter ... and I know there won't be a lot to show for it. Once this project is finished in January, I don't think Quentin will be knocking on my door any time soon.


Now I've got my little moan out of the way, I'll continue. My first disappointment was the lack of variety on show, hence all of the above. The usual suspects were present, yet nothing much else appeared. The constantly-morphing weather wasn't much help either. Sunny. Dull. Rainy. Hot. Cool ... I was half expecting snow next. I know this drastically affects the odonates that reside here. Damselflies retreat to the long grasses and the dragonflies fly a million miles high up into the trees. So, did I spot anything? Well, of course. Agriocnemis femina femina were in their thousands... little white dots were everywhere and you could be forgiven for thinking it actually was snowing. Aciagrion borneense and Aciagrion tillyardi were very common with the latter copulating in large numbers, and Pseudagrion r. rubriceps had swelled significantly in numbers since my last trip. Aciagrion pallidum was also in larger numbers, though still low. As ever, Indothemis limbata and Trithemis aurora were the dominant species in the dragonfly world. I did, however, manage to spot a male Indothemis carnatica for only the second time at the lake. He was basking on a sandy area next to the water's edge, though he was to quick to photograph. I think that the males of this species prefer to bask in this manner, as opposed to its cousin, I. limbata which likes to perch on grasses overhanging water. I did spot a large Aeschnidae sp. charging at great speed around the perimeter of the water's edge for long periods. It was way to quick to catch or even ID. It was a dull brownish colour. It was possibly Anaciaeschna jaspidea as I have spotted a female there before, but I will never know for sure. Also, I saw two bright blue and tiny Agriocnemis-sized specimens in the marshy area (I thought that the first one was Aciagrion borneense, until I saw a second next to another A. borneense and noticed it was much smaller). Unfortunately, they vanished as I approached and didn't give me chance to look at them. Aciagrion azureum???? Maybe not, but hopefully they will be there on my next visit ... if I spot that species next time, maybe my bum won't feel so numb from the trip, after all.


Here's my best photos from the trip:

Ceriagrion indochinense, male - the only Ceriagrion specimen I saw

Ceriagrion indochinense, male

Agriocnemis femina femina, male - is that snow on its thorax?

Agriocnemis femina femina, male doing early morning exercises


Agriocnemis femina femina, male - any ideas what that protrusion is near its genitalia?

Aciagrion tillyardi, female

Aciagrion tillyardi, female

Aciagrion borneense, male

Aciagrion borneense, male

Aciagrion borneense, male

Aciagrion pallidum, male

Aciagrion pallidum, female

Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola, teneral female

Indothemis limbata limbata, the oldest female in the world

Diplacodes nebulosa, mature male


Nam Nao Helicopter Pad (added species from the last visit, bold; new species for the lake, blue; species not seen from last visit, red)


Fam. Aeschnidae

Unknown sp. (large brownish colour - possibly Anaciaeschna jaspidea, previously seen)

Fam. Coenagrionidae
Aciagrion tillyardi ♂  [extremely common]
Aciagrion borneense ♂ [fairly common]
Aciagrion pallidum ♂ [fairly common]
Agriocnemis femina femina ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Agriocnemis nana ♂ [ fairly common]
Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola  [fairly common]
Ceriagrion cerinorubellum
Ceriagrion indochinense ♂ [1]
Ischnura senegalensis ♂ ♀ [common]
Onychargia atrocyana ♂ ♀ [uncommon]
Pseudagrion microcephalum ♂ [2]
Pseudagrion australasiae ♂ [1]
Pseudagrion rubriceps rubriceps  [fairly common]

Fam. Platycnemididae
Copera ciliata ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Copera marginipes  [common]

Fam. Protoneuridae
Prodasineura autumnalis ♂ ♀ [common]

Fam. Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus decoratus ♂ [2]

Fam. Libellulidae
Acisoma panorpoides panorpoides ♂ ♀ [very common]
Brachydiplax farinosa ♂ ♀ [♂ very common]
Brachythemis contaminata ♂ ♀ [very common]
Crocothemis servilia ♂ ♀ [fairly common]
Diplacodes nebulosa ♂ ♀ [very common]
Diplacodes trivialis ♂ ♀ [common]
Indothemis carnatica ♂ [1]
Indothemis limbata (Selys, 1891) ♂ [♂ extremely common]
Neurothemis intermedia atalanta ♂ [1]
Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum ♂ [common]
Neurothemis tullia tullia ♂ ♀ [common]
Orthetrum glaucum ♂ [1]
Orthetrum sabina sabina ♀ [very common]
Rhodothemis rufa ♂ [2]
Tholymis tillarga ♂ [1]
Trithemis aurora ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Trithemis pallidinervis ♂ ♀ [fairly common]

 Location 2: Stream at the Heaquarters, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 
Date: Saturday, 24th November, 2012.
Weather: Dull, dull, dull
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Zero
Leech bites: 0

Bad day? Bad timing? Bad eyesight? I don't know. What I do know, however, is that virtually all residents at the stream had vanished. Only decent numbers of Coeliccia remained (except C. c.f. loogali, which has also disappeared) and the ever-present Copera v. vittata, the latter which I can never photograph properly!  I also spotted a solitary Euphaea ochracea and that was it. I trudged along an incredibly shallow stream, only catching glimpses of shadowy Coeliccia movement.  The highlight was spotting and managing to get a half-decent photo of a copula of C. poungyi.  Still, there's always next month to look forward to...



Here are my best photos from the trip: 

Coeliccia poungyi, male - it's like photographing a needle in a darkened room


Coeliccia poungyi, copula - my first [semi] successful photo shoot 


Coeliccia poungyi, copula - the female

Nam Nao Headquarter's stream (added species from the last visit, bold; new species for the stream, blue; species not seen from last visit, red)

Family: Chlorocyphidae
Rhinocypha biforata
Rhinocypha fenestrella

Family: Euphaeidae
Euphaea ochracea  [1]

Family: Megapodagriondae 
Rhinagrion viridatum

Family: Platycnemididae
Coeliccia chromothorax ♂ ♀ [common]
Coeliccia didyma ♂ ♀ [♂ common]
Coeliccia c.f. loogali
Coeliccia poungyi  ♂ ♀ [♂ common]  
Copera vittata ♂ ♀ [very common]

Family: Protoneuridae
Prodasineura auricolor

Next trip: December

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

156 Amphiallagma parvum (Selys, 1876)


Number: 156
Family: Coenagrionidae
Genus:  Amphiallagma
Species:  Amphiallagma parvum
Common name(s): Little Blue
Synonyms: Enallagma parvum
Habitat: Uplands, exposed ponds
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao National Park (Petchabun); Uplands pond nr. Khao Yai NP (Nakhorn Ratchasima)
Sightings (by me): Rare
In flight (that I have seen): June-October
Species easily confused with: None
Looking through my recent photos and 'species list' for Nam Nao NP - during my year-long project - and I was wondering why I hadn't spotted Amphiallagma parvum this year (I spotted two males back in  October 2010). I went to look at my photos of the male on this blog and then realised I hadn't even added the species. I can't believe it. I had missed a species - which, of course, was great news for me. So here are a few OK photos of a male I saw back in 2010. I have since spotted this species at Khao Yai and again recently at Nam Nao NP again.
The male
The male is tiny in size, but is instantly recogniseable due to its vivid blue colour. It really stands out among the tall reeds and grasses.


Here's the first male I ever saw at Nam Nao NP.

Unfortunately, I am yet to see the female and hope to see it one day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nam Nao: A Year in the Making (October)


Location 1: Helicopter Pad Lake, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 
Date: Saturday,  27th September, 2012.
Weather: Hot, hotter, then hottest
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): zero
Leech bites: 4 (amazingly low)
 
Following on from my trip to Phu Kradueng, was a grueling trip to Nam Nao ... my legs were like jelly after the previous ordeal and every step was almost painful. Still, it turned out to be one of my better visits and the sun was shining from the moment I arrived - not a cloud in the sky. This ensured that there was lots of odonata activity. There were several new arrivals for the year and a couple of surprises. Diplacodes nebulosa and Trithemis pallidinervis were everywhere, as were Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum and Orthetrum glaucumNeurothemis intermedia atalanta made its first appearance for a while, as did Aciagrion pallidumAciagrion tillyardi and Aciagrion borneense were in high numbers once more and Agiocnemis femina femina were everywhere. Pseudagrion australasiae and Pseudagrion microcephalum were present. However, the highlight of the lake was spotting 2 male Ceriagrion cerinorubellum, followed by a solitary female late afternoon. This is the first time I have ever spotted the female and only the 2nd time I have spotted the male. It seems to be extremely scarce here. I have also spotted Ceriagrion azureum here previously, yet I am to see one this year. Obviously they are rather rare indeed here. So, all in all, a great day, boosted by hordes of the usual suspects to keep my head spinning and constantly searching all day.
 
My best photos of the day:

Ceriagrion cerinorubellum, male - only my 2nd sighting 

 

 
Ceriagrion cerinorubellum, female - my first ever sighting
 
 
Pseudagrion australasiae, male - first sighting in a while
 
 
Pseudagrion australasiae, male close-up

Winter is here again ... Trithemis pallidinervis, male - making their first appearance for the year

 
 
Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum, male - they were very common this visit
 
 
Aciagrion borneense, male - much improved photo and now fairly common
 
Agriocnemis nana, female - my best female photo yet
 
 
Diplacodes nebulosa, male - they are everywhere now
 
 
... as too are the females
 

Agiocnemis femina femina, almost mature male

 

Agiocnemis femina femina, teneral female
 
 
Agiocnemis femina femina, very old female
 
 
Pseudagrion rubriceps rubriceps, female 
 
Now she raises her abdomen ...
 
 
... and arches her abdomen ...
 
 
The reason ... an annoying male Aciagrion tillyardi.
 

 
Keep away from me!

Nam Nao Helicopter Pad (added species from the last visit, bold; new species for the lake, blue; species not seen from last visit, red)

Fam. Coenagrionidae
Aciagrion tillyardi ♂  [extremely common]
Aciagrion borneense ♂ [fairly common]
Aciagrion pallidum ♂ [1]
Agriocnemis femina femina ♂ ♀ [very common]
Agriocnemis nana ♂ [uncommon]
Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola  [fairly common]
Ceriagrion cerinorubellum ♀ [2, 1]
Ceriagrion indochinense ♂ [1]
Ischnura senegalensis ♂ ♀ [very common]
Onychargia atrocyana ♂ ♀ [fairly common]
Pseudagrion microcephalum ♀ [1, 1]
Pseudagrion australasiae ♂ [2]
Pseudagrion rubriceps rubriceps 
 [1]
 
Fam. Platycnemididae

Copera ciliata ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Copera marginipes  [common]
 
Fam. Protoneuridae
Prodasineura autumnalis ♂ ♀ [common]
 
Fam. Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus decoratus ♂ [common]

Fam. Libellulidae
Acisoma panorpoides panorpoides ♂ ♀ [very common]
Brachydiplax farinosa ♂ ♀ [♂ very common]
Brachythemis contaminata ♂ ♀ [very common]
Crocothemis servilia ♂ ♀ [fairly common]
Diplacodes nebulosa ♂ ♀ [very common]
Diplacodes trivialis ♂ ♀ [common]
Indothemis carnatica ♂ [2]
Indothemis limbata (Selys, 1891) ♂ [♂ extremely common]
Neurothemis intermedia atalanta ♂ [1]
Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum ♂ [common]
Neurothemis tullia tullia ♂ ♀ [common]
Orthetrum glaucum ♂ [common]
Orthetrum sabina sabina ♀ [very common]
Rhodothemis rufa ♂ [common]
Tholymis tillarga ♂ [3]
Trithemis aurora ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Trithemis pallidinervis ♂ ♀ [fairly common]


  Location 2: Stream at the Heaquarters, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 



Date: Saturday, 27th October, 2012.
Weather: Extremely hot, but still dull along the stream (except in certain places) 
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): medium
Leech bites: 
 
So, walking along a [seriously low even for the end of October] stream when I have NO power after Phu Kradueng and then the Helicopter Pad lake ... great idea. Especially when I spot a new species for the stream and I am knackered. Rhinagrion viridatum made an amazing appearance. I fact I saw 2 males. I haven't seen this species here in about 15-20 trips. It isn't a provincial record, however, as Noppadon Makbun saw it here 3 years ago. Still, a record for me anyway!
Then I saw two in one day - right next to me. In fact, almost too close to photograph and in blazing hot sunshine .... I think what I got was OK. This one was basking in the sunshine (the only bit of sunshine around). Amazingly, I went on to spot a second specimen. Wow ... this genus continues to amaze me. Other than that, the 4 Coeliccia species were clearly present and very common. I also saw 2 Tetrathemis platyptera. They are clearly around now. A solitary Prodasineura auricolor was still present, though it is clear that this species won't be around for long. I also saw 1 Orthetrum species, though it could have been any as it was on the other bank. The only other thing of note was the sheer volume of Copera vittata vittata copula ... I even managed to get a half-decent shot. I am 'well chuffed' as they say in Manchester. 

Here are the [very few] decent shots I took: 

Rhinagrion viridatum, male - my first encounter with this species here.
 
Rhinagrion viridatum, male - close up and with blazing sunshine coming from the other side. Not ideal for photography, but this turned out OK. 
 
 
An amazing feat for me ... managing to get a decent photo of a Copera vittata vittata copula for the first time ever. 
 

Nam Nao Headquarter's stream (added species from the last visit, bold; new species for the stream, blue; species not seen from last visit, red)
 

Family: Chlorocyphidae
Rhinocypha biforata ♂ ♀ [very common]
Rhinocypha fenestrella ♂ ♀ [uncommon]

Family: Euphaeidae
Euphaea ochracea ♂ ♀ [common]
 

Family: Megapodagriondae
Rhinagrion hainanense 
Rhinagrion viridatum ♂ [2] 
Family: Gomphidae
Gomphidictinus perakensi 
Merogomphus paviei

Family: Platycnemididae
Coeliccia chromothorax ♂ ♀ [uncommon]
Coeliccia didyma ♂ ♀ [♂ very common]
Coeliccia c.f. loogali ♂ ♀ [♂ very common]
Coeliccia poungyi  ♂ ♀ [♂ very common]  
Copera marginipes ♂ ♀ [very common]
Copera vittata ♂ ♀ [very common]

Family: Protoneuridae
Prodasineura auricolor ♂  [1]
 
Family: Libellulidae
Zygonyx iris malayana