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Thursday, January 20, 2011

~ I try my hand at oding

Down at the Grey Creek, since the rain, there is a super-abundance of dragonflies and their smaller cousins the damselflies. In my experience, there have never been so many. They are hovering, flashing bolts of iridescence, almost surreal in their variety, like echoes from J G Ballard’s The Crystal World. They are hypnotic, suggestive of fairy tales, and cousins to the butterflies in that they bring fanciful unexpected colour to the world. At times, as I sit observing them, I feel a shimmer of magic, glimpses of another world briefly seen and then gone.

I’ve set about cataloguing them. Thus far, among the damsel flies, blue ringtails are by far the most common, tails striped with sky blue and black. There are common flatwings, a dark metallic green with a lightning bolt on the thorax, and tiny prismatic aurora ringtails. The most populous dragonfly is the tiger-striped tau emerald with its bold green face. There are blue skimmers. And red wandering perchers.

I’m beginning to see variations in their behaviour. Their mode of flight and their habits can be used to identify them, but I’m not quite an oder yet. Oder? Oding is the habit of dragonfly watching. Many of them flit by too fast for my eye to track (They are among the fastest insects) and few stay still long enough for a photo, but I lucked out with this common flatwing ...


and this wondrous spider, which I’ve been unable to identify. Perhaps, if there is an arachnophile reading this, he or she may be so good as to shine a light on my ignorance ...?


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5 comments:

Marshall Stacks said...

spider not a golden orb?

Have just been minding a Burmese cat in a damp garden with a pond and many dragonflies which provided him with great sport as he leapt at them.

Marshall Stacks said...

PS Royal Childrens Hospital website and CSIRO websites are good for identifying things that bite.

As if anyone with an injured child is going online before rushing to casualty, but I used it to name some snakes once.

sam sejavka said...

The best spider identification site I've so far found is http://www.xs4all.nl/~ednieuw/australian/Spidaus.html.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to pin down my specimen. I don't think it's a golden orb, though it is certainly an orb-weaver, and is likely to be at home near water ...

Thanks Marshall Stacks. Your comments are greatly appreciated

Mel said...

I have a soft spot for Dragonflies. At our cabin we get a variety of colours, blue, yellow, red. In regards to your spider try googling images for "Araneus diadematus" aka cross spider I've done a quick search and it could to be that.

sam sejavka said...

Hmmmn ... not convinced. That elongated, spotted, furry rounded-cylinder of a tail ... it's so distinctive. In fact, it's a very distinctive spider all round. I'm surprised it's so difficult to name. Thanks for trying, though.