Friday 31 August 2012

Fighting Dragonflies at Willow Holt

Ran today, a long one after night time - 3am - trips to Asda for snacking purposes have made me feel chubby and guilty.

So it was a punishment run today, radio 4 in my ears, and I headed out along the Hawton Road, a few white butterflies in the air and not much else. I turned onto the Hawton  - Farndon Road and noted that a few Swallows and Martins were about, it was a nice day, and there was a lot of insect life about as I dragged myself over the bypass; there was a rich smell of cheese in the air, a camembert effect drifting on the wind that although strange sounding was rather more pleasant than the manure vomit smell that wafts in from the rubbish tip when the wind journeys from that corner.

Entered Farndon, along Wyke Lane, past smiling folk with dogs - you get a better class of dog owner in Farndon I reckon - and into a boggy Willow Holt, the meadows rather bereft of life, sad autumnal signs despite a shining sun.

A solitary Meadow Brown was flushed by my clanky gate openings. THe fields at ground level quiet. But then, as I went through the next gate, a shower of Common Darters erupted out of the elderberries, a couple of them taking time to study me with insectoid compund eyes. The females are a dullish yellow green, the males a vermillion of rare beauty.

But that wasn't the whole of it, no.

As I went over the marina bridge, past the barge pub that torments me as I pass it yet again without going for a drink there, along the quay, a vivid green dragonfly shot past me, no idea what it was but the green really stood out! And around it, big Hawkers, Southern or Common, buzzed each other aggressively in the air and arched their bodies into this bent mating position. Another bright blue dragonfly went by, like the big boss.

They never ever let me get a close look! Ever!

A few banded demoiselles were about on the water, but their activity peak seems to have been a couple of weeks ago. As the path wended its way towards the power station, more and more dragonflies silently criss crossed and backtracked from the bushes across the path; the meaning behind their movements a mystery to me.

Occasionally they look like Aces High footage of fighting biplanes! Sopwitch Camels of the Trent bankside fighting, as the pleasure barges and cabin cruisers see me wave, but suspect not the war in the air raging but a few metres away.

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