Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Dragonflies in the Park

I had a very early start this morning seeing my sister off back to London, and so took the opportunity afterwards to head off down a very warm Sconce Hills Park for a cup of tea, and to see if there was any nature that was worth investigating.

As it turned out, the nature was more interested in investigating me, because I had only just taken my cup of tea outside, when a huge brown hawker flew right up to me, looked me in the eye, before settling on my arm for a split second with an eerie tickling sensation.

Normally you associate southern hawkers with this sort of behaviour, having a brown behave like this was very strange. After looking me up, it resumed its peculiarly square circuits around the children's park, bronze wings glittering in the sun..

After my tea I went down to the river, where it was another species of dragon that was putting on a display. After being virtually invislble, the lovely red male common darters were out on the river, and being very sporty too. I watched as one individual took a perch on a riverside plant and launched itself like a heat seeking missile at any other male that came within a few metres before returning victorious to his throne.

What he was competing for was going one behind him, by the semi submerged tree trunk that has been a landmark on the River Devon as long as I can remember. A male common darter was supporting a female as she flitted her backside to ovipost her eggs onto a water plant of some kind.

I've seen this done before at Langford, but it such an odd sight you never quite get used to it, I think! The female just hangs there from the tip of the male's abdomen, dipping her bum just below the surface of the water with little flicks. She clearly had a lot of eggs to deposit, because she carried on for ten minutes as a shoal of roach glopped by, blowing bubbles on the surface of the otherwise mirror calm river.

Nature was having a busy day down the park!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 11.08.15

Some serious bikes here

Two grand each most of these, I'd say

Red arrows gave us a fly by

Marigolds are just going over, but the bees still love them

Feeding away

Still lots of colour

Really big new queen here

Cyclists are off

Where the dragons fought, and loved

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