Garden Visitors

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.

IMG_9337 Garden Demoiselle femaleFirst 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.

IMG_1843 Garden Hawker femaleIMG_9339 Garden Hawker maleAt 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.

IMG_9648 Garden Darter femaleIMG_9651 Garden Darter femaleFinally (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.

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