Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Down under

We've had our Australian friends Helen Versey and David Brown staying, which always means a brief but massive improvement in the quality of pictures on this blog. Last year David photographed an interesting grub in one of our meagre harvest of peas; this year it's the mystery object above.

What can it be? If I knew how to make this type go upside down, I would do that to delay the answer. So shut your eyes to the next bit if you want a little longer to decide.

It's the tail end - and, I believe, mating apparatus or what Charlie Fletcher the West Yorkshire county moth recorder calls 'wedding tackle' - of a very fine dragonfly which visited our pond. I was out working, so didn't see it, but H and D said that it was very helpful and obliging, holding its pose long enough for a series of pics. Here's another, with a third at the foot of the post.

I've noticed this about dragonflies; they appear to patrol a particular patch, so there is no need to chase after them. It's the same with hare-coursing, where the beagles and their quarry tend to run round in a circle, as opposed to the mad dash across the countryside of foxhounds. As for the dragonfly, it looks to me like one of the Hawkers, but I haven't Google-nailed it yet.


Banished To A Pompous Land said...

Hi Martin, I'm back from hols in New England without benefit of internet so I'm a little late. But it looks to me like a Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). I shot a lot of these around the pond in Gloucester. I've several almost identical shots with the female ovipositing in moss at the ponds edge.

Check Banished's Bugs for a Twelve Spotted Skimmer from Maine

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there - and v sorry so late in saying thanks. I've got another dragonfly episode coming up and only just called back here. Will now go in search of that 12-spotted skimmer...

all v best as ever