After all my tearing about over England and further flung parts of Europe in search of Odonata, this year we’ve been honoured and lucky enough to have been visited by a few in our very own back garden. This is not the first time, we’ve seen the occasional darter before, sitting on a fence, but this year we’ve had at least five individuals representing three species, most of which posed well for the camera.
First of all we had a male Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) who chose not to pose favourably. However, a day or so later a female of the species arrived and began hunting using various of Carol’s flowers as a suitable perch. With a little stealth – she did seem quite jumpy – I eventually managed to get this reasonable picture of her. We’ve not seen these in the garden before and I was curious as to where they might have originated from. Banded Dems like flowing water and we are about a quarter of a mile from a section of the River Ouzel. We wandered off to investigate and, sure enough, there we found several Banded Dems flitting about.
At a similar time, hawk-eyed Carol spotted a large dragonfly land on one of her plants (left). The dragonfly was a female Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) and very fresh she was, too, with her colours looking a little pale. She remained “hung-up” on the plant for quite a time and seemed very relaxed as I approached to snap her. Since she had chosen to hang up on a crop of Evening Primroses, I couldn’t help but wonder if she might have been suffering from a slight attack of PMT but, no, on second thoughts she couldn’t have been ‘cos she was being far too cooperative. 😯 Just kidding, ‘t was a real privilege having her around. I thought she returned a couple of days later and hung-up on our ivy but this second individual turned out to be a Southern Hawker male (right). It’s quite usual to see Hawkers patrolling up and down rides in woodland so seeing these was less unexpected. They don’t often hang-up, though.
Finally (so far), just today, we were returning from a walk into town to discover that we were playing host to yet another welcome guest. A female Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) had chosen to use one of our birdfeeder supports from which to launch hunting sorties. Again, she seemed very unconcerned about my presence and I managed to get close enough to use the macro lens on her. I don’t know if she realized how appropriate her choice of perch was, though – the bird feeder pole has a dragonfly motif on it. How cute! 🙂
Well, it saves on fuel.