Wednesday 24 August 2011

Aerial Killers

Today, I spent hours outside.

But they were mainly lazy hours. I've been running for five straight days and my legs are sore, my ankles ache, my back creaks...yeah, and what I really wanted to do was just sit in the sun all damn day!

And mostly I did.

But, you must get out and do something more positive on a glorious day like this, in a summer where we've had so few of them, so I figured I could combine a bit of a sunbathe with a bike trip to Willow Holt and that's what I did, risking the nasty roadworks and the A46.

So, parked up by the river at the back end of Willow Holt, I lazed around, keeping my eyes open of course, but just generally feeling good. In contrast with what I've read, still seemed to be a few of the little Sedge Warblers flitting about the willows on the water and swallows swooped about the river.

But as I trotted around, frighteningly shirtless and jeans rolled up to reveal odd socks, every so often, a menacing shape would cast a cold shadow across my face...

You'd think only a largish bird would do that, but as I turned, I found that it was a large dragonfly. As ever maddeningly never settling so I can get a proper look at it let alone photograph it, it hummed past my head, another, more frightening steampunk little war machine (see what I wrote about ladybirds) flying in a spiky series of straight lines. 

It wasn't alone either, there was a fair few of them about on this little stretch of riverbank. And they were hungry too - they were flying high, and as I watched, they were effortlessly taking smaller insects on the wing; just sailing up behind them and plucking them out of the sky. You could almost hear the chomping. What beautiful and staggeringly effective pocket Spitfires they are. They are even painted up like a particularly flash airfix model.

For eventually a few of them came close enough to me to get a decent view of the colour scheme. They were all of the same species - bronzey looking wings, a large head and thorax patterned in yellow and an abdomen of greeney-blue. Not solid coloured so not an Emperor, I'm pretty sure now that these Dragonfly, which I see more of than any other round here, are Common Hawkers.

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