Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A Star Near Far . . . Pasture

After missing out on Monday, the mid-late afternoon sunshine yesterday had me scurrying down to Far Pasture to see what was about.
From the hide there was nothing in the way of dragons, the Forbidden Pond is now very well stocked with water but not with dragons, and Pond3 is still guarded by killer ponies so remains inaccessible.

But the roadside fences at last held a double-figure count of Common Darters, both males and females in various stages of maturity, but still no Ruddys to be found by the ditch.

maturing male

immature male

and another

mature female

immature female
A couple of bonus fluke 'oddities' in the selection were an octo-winged darter and another which appeared to have nailed its meal to the fence :

The light was so strong and the illusion so good that from distance I actually thought this
was two darters one on top of the other

" Ha! Got you pinned down now."
"Yeah, like literally" 

Star of the day though was our final sighting at the top of the access road, where a foraging female Southern Hawker alighted in thick roadside vegetation as the sun dipped behind cloud, and thankfully stayed put for a long while as she was so well camouflaged it took an age to find her even though she was in unobstructed view. She was also very well settled, and even an impatient Sprog3 couldn't remove her from her low perch as I snapped away with him shouting in my ear (though I have to say he was impressed when I showed him what I was snapping, even recognising it as the same dragonfly I have on my screensaver).

Unbelievably difficult to make out with the naked eye, marvellous camouflage.

But very obliging allowing cracking close-ups

Another view of her blending capabilities

She hung around for a while allowing me to get a variety of angles

This my favourite, showing the superb patterns on the abdominal segments

A good find and not at all displeased with the photos. The X-S1 is proving its worth with the bigger dragonflies. It was also a treat to view her in detail through the Papilios from point blank range, what a great buy they are turning out to be (I even noted a pair being used by George McGavin, insect man on The One Show the other week, and if they're good enough for George . . . . )  :-)   


  1. They are superb Dragons those Southern Hawkers, been on their case myself this week :-)

  2. Yeah, they're class dragons and the commonest hawker these parts, I saw your superb photos after I posted mine and as pleased as I am with my efforts, I can see I'll have to invest in a proper SLR before long.

  3. Common Darters And Southern Hawkers, although not the most spectacular of dragons, are my favs as they are both usually quite approachable. It's great to get in close to see the detail of these superb creatures. ....and there's nowt more pleasing than a Common Darter landing on you or letting you stroke its wing or abdomen.

    1. Agreed John, they are so easy to observe at close quarters, the only thing I don't like about the Common darter is the name, maybe Variable Darter would be better as you hardly find two alike.

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  6. I was pond dipping at Swallow Ponds with my sprogs and we had a Southern Hawker flying around and regularly landing on the deck. The kids loved being so close to such a big dragon.

    1. Yeah, great when the kids see one, esp. for the first time, can't fail to be amazed by the size.