Cyprus Dragonfly Diaries-1-Calopteryx splendens

2019 saw me joining into Dragonfly recording in my area of Cyprus.

I know…it seems like a random thing to do, but, you know I like to take photographs and, why not ? Fresh air and enjoying nature is something that I have discovered is beneficial to my mind, so this is a double benefit.

There is a Dragonfly study group in Cyprus and a chance photograph of mine of a dragonfly into a local biodiversity Facebook group, led to a very old friend of mine contacting me to ask if I would be interested in accompanying her for her monthly recording for said study group.

As she lives in the next village and completes records for our local river valleys, I jumped at it.

In the company of a knowledgeable person, nature is that much more interesting.

So 4 times a month, we head off out to 2 river valley sites which are diverse in nature, searching for damselflies and dragonflies. At this stage, as there is diversity in nature and searching for one thing leads to another, I discovered how beautiful butterflies are too, especially for photography…( the butterfly posts are yet to come…)

To be quite honest, I didn’t have a clue what a Damselfly was, what it looked like and how you need to to have acute awareness to spot the tiny ones.

Once I blundered around for a while, marvelling at my friend’s ability to spot the tiniest of creatures, I was thrilled to start spotting them myself.

Damselflies are insects of the suborder Zygoptera in the order Odonata. They are similar to dragonflies, which constitute the other odonatan suborder, Anisoptera, but are smaller, have slimmer bodies, and most species fold the wings along the body when at rest, unlike dragonflies which hold the wings flat and away from the body. An ancient group, damselflies have existed since at least the Lower Permian, and are found on every continent except Antarctica.

One of the most obvious and to me, quite beautiful and easily spotted, owing to its shining body, is Calopteryx splendens ssp. amasina ( Bartenef, 1911). The Common name is Banded Demoiselle.

Below is a typical site for finding Calopteryx in the river areas. Wading is required. I have just bought wellingtons for the winter wading, beautiful wellingtons, black with red roses and a smart little tie thingy at the top…how wellingtons have changed! I want to wear them everyday! However, I digress, the wading environment is always beautiful…

A selection of photographs of the exquisite Calopteryx from locations in the Esouza and Diarizos areas in the Paphos district of Cyprus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been spammed….

It’s been a long time, too long a time since I logged into my WordPress account…

It’s time to put 2019 ( butterflies, dragonflies, strange insects, shells, fossils, travel) into posts, but I have been busy with being supportive and stern with Younger Child over his degree ambitions and the continuous saga of maintenance required on my old and crumbling, but well-loved home.

(Younger child, previously referred to as Darling boy in earlier posts, but I think during the year of being stern, we all had to become more adult, well, not me, I’m nearly past being adult, but DB had to grow up, so, YC is now a more appropriate, anonymous name for my blog references to said child)

Crumbling home is a feeling a bit better now. It has required much TLC throughout the year, a lifetime project that my partner has done wonders with so far… thank god for Google, his skill set is now such that I will be advertising his skills when times are hard… building skills, that is!

With my mind on other worries, to organise the blog, decide on and edit the photos, plan, write, well… along the 2019 way, I lost my blogging mojo.

But, Younger child now has his degree, Yay!

I no longer need to be a good mummy… well, I do, I know I will be, but I can start to step back now and let him flee my nest (again) and in my adult mind, I’ve earned some me-time now….time to return to my WordPress world…

So I took the first step back in tonight, the familiar side menus, the “Add new post”… all within reach, but then my eye caught sight of the spam folder.

Good grief! Azimet has done a fine job and stopped over 3,000 spam messages, but there were still over 1,000 slipped through.

Viagra appeared to be the dominant message….

I have resisted all offers and didn’t bother to look after page 1, but now I am exhausted by the thought that somewhere out there, there are people-bots or whatever does it nowadays, generating random messages, sending them all over the world to flog pharmaceuticals and does anyone actually look at these messages and think…Oh, yeah, I’ll just pop in an order for a drug to that genuine looking worldwide site ?

Instead of being creative with words and photos, I’m now feeling a bit like Victor(ia) Meldrew (of a certain age and you’ll get that one) after the spam-fest, so I’ll restart my mojo briefly with a picture I took two days ago of the beautiful, tiny and fragile Narcissus obsoletus , currently flowering in Cyprus at the moment and come back soon!

Narcissus obsoletus is a species of the genus Narcissus (daffodils) in the family Amaryllidaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean littoral from north Africa and the Iberian peninsula, east to Israel.

 

Gefiri tou Roudia… Finding the Venetian bridges in Cyprus.

Oh, well, ok… I have been so lax this winter with my little WordPress blog.

Apologies to any followers, I hit a blog slump…Committing to being a good mummy whilst darling boy entered his final furlong for his degree, meant that I vowed to stay at home to be a mummy support and not travelling. Hmm, it’s been very hard, I love to be a traveller, but this year I’ve been trying to be such a good mummy ( my opinion, DB may have a different view)  but, well, I’ve been missing my freedom more than a tad!

Dire weather this winter led to a kind of personal fug and, apart from the good mummy business, I just retreated under a blanket, read a lot and watched TV rubbish and looked at the rain ruining my house. This problem still needs to be addressed, probably at a large cost, sadly. I’m happy to be in a drying out mode right now… a lottery win would help though! Also a dire internet connection left me irritated and impatient, this is a bit on-going, but whittling down the fault to my provider has been tedious as they don’t want to be responsible, even if they are..little by little, I’m nearly on the winning streak with them!

I did do trips but the thought of photo organisation and editing to blog was anathema, but, suddenly I think I’ve got my mojo back! The sun is shining and I feel inspired. Out of the fug … I hope!

So, to get to the post point, there are so many places to visit in Cyprus and I tend to enjoy the awkward ones.. I miss my Gulf off-roading and if there is a difficult drive, I’ll go for it.

Luckily there is much history in Cyprus, part of which are the Venetian bridges, scattered around the island and standing well, after many years.This is an interesting link to the history of the Venetian occupation in Cyprus via Wiki… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venetian_Cyprus

One of my favourite bridges, deep down on the edge of Paphos Forest is Gefiras tou Roudia, (Roudias Venetian bridge). Access this year is currently limited to one route via Koilineia, via Vretsia, an old Turkish village, now abandoned and then down an interminable forest track winding to to the valley base.

Cyprus has been so green this winter, but the heat is now starting to burn off the vegetation and the hillsides are fading fast to the summer brown, but down in the river valley, dappled shade and greenery shields you from the heat. The water is flowing fast, evidence at this time of year of the momentous amount of rain Cyprus experienced this winter.

It was a time to relax in depths of the shade, search out some flora and fauna and just recognise that I live on a beautiful, unique island. I had forgotten that I am very lucky to live here, during this miserable winter…

Almond blossom on a grey day….

According to the news, it has so far been the wettest five months since 1901 in Cyprus. I can vouch for the fact it has been very wet!

A planned day out today was deemed prudent to cancel, as the little cloud with raindrops on the weather app seemed to be rain-dropping all day at the destination.

But the rain was intermittent and I needed bread so went out, with my camera (just in case). I decided to turn right up the hill as there was a hint of blue between the clouds.

Bread be damned, but the grey clouds closed over the bit of blue just as I turned the corner to find an almond field in full blossom.

Oh well, too beautiful to be missed, even on a grey day.

I did buy bread, by the way. A handy little kiosk on the way down the hill had some. Not too sure it was fresh today, but it did well for toast with blue cheese snacks…

Finding anemones…

Cyprus has had a wet winter this year, but the island needs the water and the dams have reached record levels so I hope there will no water shortages during the summer.

Amidst all the rain, nature has been taking its course and one of my great pleasures is to head off to the hillsides and search for wildflowers that start to pop up in late January.

One of these is Anemone Coronaria  (Crown Anemone), family: Ranunculaceae, native to the Mediterranean region.

I’ve always seen them over the years, but now I’m actively looking, the profusion of these beautiful flowers amazes me. Popping up in moist meadows, in a range of colours, it’s a delight to find them.