Another Day of Interesting Wildlife

Common Blue Damselfly - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Common Blue Damselfly - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
When I woke up this morning (for the second time, I was up at 4:30 to close off the moth trap, and heard a massive explosion, turns out somewhere in Bletchley some gas cylinders in a garage exploded) I really wasn't in the mood for a walk out, but knowing I only had today off before another stretch at work I thought I had better do something and so I decided I would head straight or the wild grass field where I saw lots of Dragonflies and butterflies yesterday and try my luck again (wearing trousers today rather than shorts was a good idea!)

On the way


Taking the shortest route possible, I headed via Wymbush checking out the bramble patches as I went, just in case there was something interesting in amongst the thorny masses and I was lucky enough to photograph a small green cricket of some kind [Speckled Bush Cricket - Leptophyes Punctatissima].

Cricket - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Speckled Bush Cricket - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes

At the Field


Arriving at the field I made the decision I would spend my time here and see what I could photograph, again as yesterday there was quite a bit going on, but mainly it was Common Blue Damselfly or Blue-tailed damselfly that I could see as well as plenty of Meadow Brown and Ringlet Butterflies (add in a couple of Large Skippers, Small Tortoiseshell and a lone Comma).

Large Skipper - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Large Skipper - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes


I then spotted a larger Dragonfly, again as with yesterday it was a female Black-Tailed Skimmer, this one however allowed me to approach and take the following photo (a later one kept sitting on the path like yesterday and was NOT approachable).

Black-Tailed Skimmer (Female) - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Black-Tailed Skimmer (Female) - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes

I then spotted something I had not seen before a large Emperor Dragonfly on the wing but carrying a large prey item in the shape of a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, I wasn't able to get a photo of it in flight but a little stalking later and I managed to get wonderful views (and photos) as it munched on it's tasty feast. I also managed to grab a decent video, shown below after being stabilised by YouTube (must buy some decent software).

Emperor Dragonfly eating small tortoiseshell butterfly - Milton Keynes
Emperor Dragonfly eating small tortoiseshell butterfly - Milton Keynes

Emperor Dragonfly eating small tortoiseshell butterfly - Milton Keynes
Emperor Dragonfly eating small tortoiseshell butterfly - Milton Keynes

Emperor Dragonfly Eating Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly Video



More Hopper Action


After the above excitement I was all ready to leave when I spotted first this wonderful Grasshopper (I shot video but it was awful!), that allowed me a great close approach and some wonderful photos - Meadow Grasshopper.

Grass Hopper - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Meadow Grasshopper - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes


And finally This stunning Common Blue butterfly allowed me a close enough approach to get another photo.

Common Blue - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Common Blue - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes

And still tired from my long set of nights and with more work due for the next five days I decided to call it a day and head back home for a little rest.

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