We had another trip to a local pond in the hope of seeing a bit more variety of insect life. However, the broad-bodied chasers were very active over the pond, so it was difficult to ignore them to go in search of anything else and we spent a couple of hours watching them.
I have now identified four separate males, one with a damaged rear wing; the others have slightly different marking/colouration and one of the three has a tiny notch out of one fore-wing. I only saw one female, who was busy ovipositing after a number of occasions of mating in flight, so hopefully the site will produce more of these beautiful creatures over the next couple of years or so. During ovipositing, the male can be seen overflying the female to ward off competitors.
Trying to decipher where the insects will land is a challenge. Last week we found one particular dragonfly landed frequently on one particular reed…each dragon having its favourite landing spots in different and mostly inaccessible parts of the pond, but yesterday that particular perch was out of favour for most of the time we were there. I decided to plonk my small three-legged stool at the edge of the pond near to where there are a few “sticky-up bits” and just sit and wait it out. After about half an hour I was treated to the first landing…I wasn’t really paying attention by then, so I just spotted him about four feet away and grabbed a few (as it turned out very unsatisfactory) shots. Over the course of the next hour or so, each of the males in turn landed close by – and I managed a few more pictures…well, quite a lot actually!
It’s much more likely that you will find dragons perching for longer periods in the very early morning and dew-drenched dragonflies have become a popular subject for nature photographers. Under these ultra-calm conditions, it becomes possible to stack images to increase depth of field, e.g. Oliver Wright’s Blog pages.
20th June update: A couple of weeks later and the water in the pond is very low. There was only one BB Chaser visible…a male, still in perfect condition. Was able to get up close and personal before he flew off.
For information on dragonflies mating in flight – look here.