A Few Dragons

Not featured our flying assassins much this year.  This is mostly due to the fact I have not been out very often looking for them and when I have not actually seeing many.  The start of the season was good but it tailed off a few weeks back when we started this drought and spells of extreme heat.  Coincidence?  The larvae that have spent one, two or more years underwater and can time their emergence should be fine.  Of course if a pool dries up, as is happening, they are in big trouble, this will have an effect in future years.  As for the lack of adults maybe it has been just too hot at times.

Here are a few I have managed to see in the last few weeks.

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) at Winterton

End of July and I took a walk in the dune system at Winterton-on-sea. Last year this place was heaving with odonata.  Those with a long memory may recall the rare Lesser Emperor I found.  This year a three mile hike turned up just ten, yes TEN, dragonflies!  Yes it was a bit breezy but even so….  One of the pools in the main breeding area had been filled in to stop the spread of an invasive water weed, the others all but dry and with no rain since, well, they must be dust now.

Female Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) Upton Fen

Upton Fen in the Broads was better but still not as prolific as in recent years.  On my first visit the Darters were just starting to show.

Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) Upton Fen

The Skimmers are a pain to photograph.  They usually sit on the paths, let you get nearly in lens range, then fly a few feet away and repeat ad-nauseam.  The one above obviously had not read the rule book!

Small Red-eyed Damselflies (Erythromma viridulum) Pensthorpe

Saw a few different species when we went to Pensthorpe with the Lemming but again not big numbers.  The highlight being two Lesser Emperors by one of the lakes but frustratingly no photo opportunity.  The damselflies above were egg laying in an ornamental pond and that shot was taken with my 600mm lens.

“Oi mister take my picture!”
“Very well but you must sit nice and still” Male Common Darter, garden pond

The garden pond has been almost deserted for some weeks, just the odd Blue-tailed Damselfly.  This Common Darter arrived a week ago and is good company it even tolerates the macro lens a foot from his face.  What he does not tolerate is any other male Darter trying to muscle in on his territory.  These are given a quick kicking.  Any females are treated to ‘Darter romance’, grabbed by the back of the neck, dragged into the bushes, brought back to the pond by the back of the neck and dunked in to lay eggs, the little charmer, not even a “what’s your name babe, care for a dance?”

37 thoughts on “A Few Dragons

  1. Amazing photos Brian! I am certainly no National Geographic photographer like you, but I guess it is near impossible to get great shots of your dragonflies without 600mm or 800mm or 1000mm camera lenses, huh? Wow! I especially like the male Common Darter(?) in mid-flight! He does seem to “strike a pose” for you… as Madonna sings. 😉

    Hey, I’ve just posted a blog about the upcoming FIFA World Cup and the particularly enticing Group B matchups. 😁 Arky/Doug has already made an offensive move on Norwich players on the 3-Lions roster. 🤭 hehe

    Pop over if you’d like to fire back at him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Prof! Actually for nearly all my shots I use a 105mm macro lens plus 1.4x converter making it 150mm, so I have to get real close. This gives great detail.
      Just been over and left my two penneth worth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Here is hoping the weather cycle will change, as it usually does, and provide for a better spring for the odes.

    The ones you managed to locate certainly turned into outstanding photographs!

    Having spent this morning attempting to photo a dragon in flight, I really appreciate the Common Darter image!

    Have a great week, Brian!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Us Brits are obsessed by weather. Some parts of our Country have had rain but here nothing. Monday was forecast to be wet all day, we had a five minute light shower! Love a warm, sunny summer but this year is beyond a joke and the wildlife is suffering.


  3. Not many here on this side of the straight either. We had a few in and around our pond early then recently we have had two or three that like to fight over my bamboo bean stake in the garden. Still amazing that you can capture these creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you! The only butterflies I have seen have been in the community garden and only the white sorts that eat kale and cabbage. If they can find any that have survived the heat! Not many bees either. Bad here with wasps! They are constantly in our pond for a drink.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It really is worrying just how badly the number of insects have declined. Because they’re so easily noticeable the odonates are a good yardstick for a trend that affects probably every class of insects (bar cockroaches…).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tanja. It’s cooler but we are still waiting for decent rainfall in our part of the Country. Only had showers on one day in the last several weeks, the rain others are getting never gets to us, it fizzles out or the front moves north.

      Liked by 1 person

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