19 May 2010

here be dragons

Today while remonstrating quietly with myself about the plant spacings in the new beds  (its crowded in there) a bit of sparkle coming from the wheelbarrow cabbage flowers caught my eye.  Hanging from the flower stem like some strange fruit was a large dragonfly in complementary tones of gold, yellow and brown with light reflecting off its transparent wings.  These large and distinctive insects are strong flyers and can easily travel long distances so it is not unusual to see them in the garden but it is rare to get such a close look at one, they are wary and alert with lightening fast reactions and have the ability to fly forwards, backwards and any which way so despite my running willy-nilly I am usually unable to get close enough to identify them.
This one was easily identified by its distinctive wide abdomen as a female Broad-bodied Chaser, Libellula depressa, (the males are blue), probably newly emerged from the pond and resting after her maiden flight.  I have seen these in the garden each year since the wildlife pond was completed a few years ago and think they probably established from larvae introduced with the pond plants but they are known to be colonisers of new ponds and may have arrived of their own accord.  I am looking forward to watching its darting flight as it hunts round the garden for flying insects (do I just imagine the clatter of those cellophane wings?) and I fully expect to crick my neck jerking my head this way and that trying to keep it in view.  I did this before and doubt I've learnt my lesson yet.    

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