Thursday, 25 September 2008

Coastal Pennant bagged!


This dragonfly was photographed at the Weerawila tank (reservoir) during the Photography tour that I guided last month. It was identified by Odonatologist, Matjaz Bedjanic as a Coastal Pennant Macrodiplax cora.

I was quite pleased about this capture as Matjaz, following the identification, disclosed that the authors of the Dragonflies of Sri Lanka (2007) had tried to photograph this to be included in this photo guide without success. Before that, Karen Conniff, one of its co-authors of this book, had also urged me to look for this elusive dragon on my travels to the deep south.

We arrived at the Weerawila Tank (from Tissamaharama road end) at around 10.00 a.m., on 9 August, 2008 to improve the angle of a big aggregation of water birds seen previously. Unfortunately, there was very little bird photography that we could do due to the strong winds experienced on this day—so much so that we were worried to keep our scopes unattended!

On the positive side, in the grassy belt of land protected by the bund from the gusts was a swarm of dragonflies—with 1000s of dragonflies!

‘Dragonfly swarms’ occur when adults exhibiting a stereotypical tight interweaving flight pattern, form a high-density aggregation within a confined area. Swarms are often composed of multiple species.

The species observed in the order of the abundance (as casually observed) in this particular swarm included Dancing Dropwing Trithemis pallidinervis, Scarlet Basker Urothemis signata signata, Asian Groundling Brachythemis contaminata, Oriental Scarlet Crocothemis servilia servilia, and Coastal Pennant Macrodiplax cora featured here.

I suspect that this particular case of swarming was probably to seek protection from the elements and to feast on insect prey that may have also been sucked into this 'safety zone.'

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13 comments:

Doug Taron said...

NIce photo (as always) with a great story to go with it. I always find it gratifying when I finally encounter a species I've been seeking for a long tome.

Jim said...

I enjoyed reading about this species of dragonflies. You took a really nice picture.
Ours seem to be green bodied around here, they were 'swarming' yestereday, keeping about twenty feet apart.

Thank you for checking my Morris Minor, I would like to see hordes of older cars on the street again. The last time I did was in Egypt. Countries without auto manufacturing capacity seem to keep their cars running a whole lot longer than we do.

I do have a 1950 Ford Deluxe Tudor.
..

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Gorgeous photo! Congratulations on "capturing" this elusive dragonfly!

Thanks for your visit to my SWF post today, and for your very kind comments about my photo.

bobbie said...

A great shot. How lucky to be able to capture this one! Good for you!

Adventure girl wanna be said...

Wow! Such detail! You are an expert;)
Great shot!

Gallicissa said...

Thanks, Doug!
It was indeed a gratifying experience. As soon as this was 'detected in the radar', I knew I was dealing with a new one.

Note: the wind has made the wings blurred.

Hi Jim,
Thanks! Good to hear from you. Glad to know that you too observed a swarming behaviour.

It was kind of like mixed-species bird flocks that we experience in the rain forests here. If you are not sure what I am talking about see this post:

http://gallicissa.blogspot.com/2007/12/sinharaja-with-ed-and-cj.html

as mentioned by me, Morris Minors are not uncommon in the roads here. Vehicle prices are very high and most of our vehicles are imported over here. So, people tend to keep their old vehicles longer as you have correctedly observed. My neigbhour has one too!

Wow - the 1950 Ford Deluxe Tudor sounds good! It must be like in the movies when you drive that!

Thanks, Pat!
In the dragonfly guide mentioned above, this species and Amber-winged Glider are the only two Libellulidae family members that have not been featured due to the unavailability of photos.

I am happy to say that I have both of those missing dragons in my bag now!

Hi Bobbie,
Given the conditions, I consider it a good catch.
Thanks for sharing my joy!

Hi AGWB,
Thank you very much!

I usually do a single post per trip but because the last trip was a 18-day long one and we had loads of highlights, I decided to blog them in several short posts.

So, this is the 4th post related to that marathon tour.

p.s. I am very much an Odonatoholic!!

spookydragonfly said...

What a fantastic experience to witness! Swarms of dragonflies...goosebumps just thinking of it! Gorgeous photos.

Gallicissa said...

Hi Spookydragonfly,
It is a great experience running into a swarm. I was not exaggerating when I mentioned there were 1000s of dragonflies - they were literally everywhere!

Margerie said...

Love the firey color on your new 'fly.

Great photos and tale as per usual :)

Gallicissa said...

Hi Margerie,
The gaudy-ness is because it is a male - dragonfly. Thanks for your comments!

Duncan said...

Love the dragonfly shots Amila, they're just starting to emerge over here. Spent half an hour today trying to get a picture but not one landed. Ah well, back to the moths.

Gallicissa said...

Thanks, Duncan.
Good to hear that dragonflies are beginging to emerge over there. I am sure you will have a few goodies this Australian summer.

Fortunately, it is aseasonal here -so, we have dragonflies flying year round.

Dragonchaser said...

A nice catch indeed Amila, this species was thought to be absent from Borneo until I showed a photo that I took to an Odonatologist friend. See my post http://dragonsndamsels.blogspot.com/2008/08/macrodiplax-cora.html. So your post is of special interest to me too.
By the way I do sometimes take photos of birds too, some do get posted in another blog of mine: http://allthingsborneo.blogspot.com/
Cheers. Joe

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