Dragonflies Emerge

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A Great Sight on a Sunny Sunday

Hawker dragonfly emerging 8 July 2012, taken at a pond in Wedderburn Road

Hawker dragonfly emerging 8 July 2012, taken at a pond in Wedderburn Road

On 8th July 2012 we saw two Southern Hawker dragonflies emerging from our pond. The dragonfly nymphs have been scuttling around the bottom of the pond for at least a year, gradually growing to a length of about 40mm. Then when we inspected the pond at lunchtime on 8th July we saw two dragonflies hanging down from foliage over the pond, waiting for their wings to be ready for flight. They remained there for the next hour (as we did!) hardly moving at all with their wings together. Then the first dragonfly gradually stretched out its wings and started vibrating them. Suddenly, it scuttled out from under the leaf and took off.

The photograph on the right shows the first dragonfly waiting for its wings to be ready for flight. It is hanging from its final nymph case which is attached to a leaf of a kingcup. You can see another nymph case to the left of the leaf stem.

Dragronfly at Rest

Hawker dragonfly resting in a tree after its maiden flight, 8 July 2012

Hawker dragonfly resting in a tree after its maiden flight, 8 July 2012

The second dragonfly flew perhaps 10 minutes later and whilst the first had disappeared off into the trees, the second landed almost immediately in a conifer at the side of the pond. It remained there for a couple of hours before disappearing in the evening.

The next day when we checked the pond, there were at least eight nymph carcasses on the king cup leaves. Most must have emerged before the two we observed.

 

Close-up Shot of Hawker Dragonfly

Close-up of the body of a Southern Hawker dragonfly, 8 July 2012

Close-up of the body of a Southern Hawker dragonfly, 8 July 2012

The photograph on the right is an extract from the first one, it shows incredible detail on the body of the dragonfly: barbs on its legs, “fluffy” hair on its head and long curly hairs by its eyes (antennae?). You can also see the structure of the wings.

The Pond

The pond is just 3mx2m in size, a hole dug into the clay at the bottom of the garden. It’s unlined, just puddled clay at the bottom, so it dries out if the summer is dry (like last year). It supports a wide range of wildlife from frogs and newts to a wide range of insects and invertebrates.

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