I recently declared the end of the wet season and now I’m declaring the end of the dragonfly season – at least in my garden. (I know I can still find them if I walk down to the banks of Ross River, but that’s different.) I spent two hours in the garden yesterday and only saw one dragonfly, down from dozens at their peak.
That means I’m going to stop postponing the task of sorting all my dragonfly photos, because I won’t be adding to them as I go. Here is the first result of the sorting-out: the commonest species here for most of the wet season, which I have finally identified as the Australasian Slimwing, Lathrecista asiatica festa.
Clicking here will take you to my Flickr photos where you will find a few more shots of the same species alongside this one.
I was looking for an excuse to post the larger photo below and realised that I had just posted another ‘Common’ butterfly – Bingo!
Seriously, this is quite a common and widespread species. Its alternate name refers to its females, which occur in a wide range of colour forms (I have a whole lot of them here).
The males are consistently brown underneath with white markings, and black above with white eye-spots which flare blue-purple from some angles.
Males are territorial and will perch on some convenient vantage point ready to pursue any females and drive off any rivals, but they interpret ‘rivals’ very broadly indeed – not only males of their own species, but medium to large butterflies of any species (I’ve seen them harassing Cairns Birdwings, which are at least twice as big) and even dogs and people.
Most of my photography is done with strictly documentary purposes in mind but it is nice to relax a bit and play with images. I desaturated the one below and then played a bit longer until it pleased me.
We are lucky enough to have butterflies in our garden all year round but there are distinct seasonal changes. The Crow, for instance, is a regular dry-season visitor but much less common in the Wet. I took the photo above a couple of weeks ago, i.e. a couple of weeks after the last of our heavy rain, and the one below at a similar time last year.
Most of us automatically make a huge distinction between people – ‘us’ – and animals – ‘them’ – but is that really justifiable? When we look at the question instead of taking the answer for granted, the gap shrinks dramatically.
First, we are compelled to realise that we are animals, big monkeys in fact, so the distinction is between ‘people’ and ‘other animals’. That step may seem small now but it split England right down the middle 150 years ago Continue reading “How special are we?”