I visited Alyesbeare Common in the first week of August last year, it was a lovely sunny day and I was hoping to see my first ever Emerald Damselflies, Lestes sponsa. I do realise that this it a very widespread and fairly common species over much of the country but it is a bit more scarce in this region. I probably had seen it before when I lived in the Midlands but I didn't note what species it was. Anyhow, I definitely hadn't photographed them before. They appear quite dull from a bit of a distance but close up they are surprisingly colourful.
The metallic green and powder blue male is gorgeous ( in his own way)...but up close...
(Look away Martha)...
The female is metallic green all over.
Best to enlarge this to get the full effect of the colour.
Female Southern Hawker, usually much trickier to get near to than the males.
There were also scores of Graylings on the wing. I remember I was trying to follow pairs of them to see the mating ritual when they eventually land, with the male showing off the upper side of his wings. As I was following one pair through the heather I just happened to look down and I'd put my trainer clad foot down about a centimetre away from a big, (and very fortunately for me) sleeping female Adder. Instead of striking at my leg she slid off. I was so close to inadvertently stepping straight on her I remember feeling a bit shaken. I gave up trying to follow the amorous butterflies and relaxed with a bit of pony therapy instead (reputed (by me) to be almost as good as puppy therapy). Here's some photos of the Graylings, probably the only one of the 54 species I saw last year not to have made it onto here...until now.
Usual View...Yawn ;-)
I was lucky enough to actually see the upper wings a few times although my photographic efforts leave a bit to be desired. It was a 'blink and you'll miss it ' kind of situation though.
Another one for my growing 'on the hand' list.
Exmoor ponies are used to control the vegetation on the reserve and soothe victims of close encounters of the anguine kind!
This is Saw-wort, serratoula tincoria which was as far as I recall, a new plant for me. Probably just been overlooking it for years.