Given the title to this post, I ought to start off 'Once upon a time...' but I've led off with this dragonfly instead because it's such an extraordinary-looking creature. It zoomed off when I first tried to photograph it on top of a bamboo cane in our veg patch yesterday. But I've noticed that dragonflies (a) like perching on top of sticks and (b) often return to the same one, and so I waited and (b) duly happened. Now to ID it at leisure and update later. Update: kindly and knowledgable Ray has saved me the trouble - see Comments. It's a Common Darter - wonderful that such amazing insects are common in the UK.
|Old Lady number one|
|Old Lady number 2|
I lamented that I hadn't had any here, and indeed had only ever seen one other since the Suffolk drama, mysteriously dead on the roof of our car outside our home in Leeds. Lo and behold! The coincidences which have so regularly marked moth events since we moved to Oxfordshire in April struck again.
|Poplar number one, flashing its petticoat|
|Poplar number two. Sorry pics are a bit dark but it's overcast this morning|
The sisterly pair had three large grey companions in the eggboxes: two Poplar Hawks and a magnificent Red Underwing which is still somewhere in our greenhouse, to which I retreated this morning because of steady rain. If I can find it later on, I will try to get some pictures showing more of its racy petticoat than the glimpse in the close-up below. Update: and I have. See bottom of post. The sun roused the moth from its hiding place and I got the picture before popping it in a box and letting it go outside. If Old Lady moths can tut tut, I'm sure they will have done so, if they got a glimpse of this underwear when the Red underwing flew in.