After capturing the irridescent beauty of this damselfly (a 'beautiful demoiselle' I believe) last year the Sock's decided that their new project, whilst out walking the Dorset and Devon countryside, would be to photograph dragonflies. (If you want to see the pictures as a slide show double click on any one - blogger sometimes annoyingly blurs the images so you should get better quality that way.)
This slightly ordinary, boggy, shallow pond near the Hardy* monument in Dorset was alive with the magic of dragonflies flitting like fairies across the surface. We waited patiently full of excitement until at last one by one they came to land on the foliage in front of us.
The ethereal wings of this little beauty contrast with the somewhat sturdy body. It's aptly named a 'broad-bodied chaser'. He was happy to pose momentarily for us, returning time after time to show off his 'angles'.
The male a pale powder blue with yellow bands down its side.
The female a flashing metallic antique gold
Another walk, this time on the River Yarty just into the Dorset edge of Devon. Dozens of banded demoiselles dancing across the water, whirling dervishly together until settling for seconds on a bankside stem.
They moved so fast most photos ended up like this one, a quick flick of colour too fast to take a shape
We waited patiently cameras trained on their favourite perches in the hope they would not just return but also show off their fabulous wing spread.
We were eventually rewarded with some fantastic pictures -
so exhilerating to eventually capture one at rest it quite literally made us breathless - although our bovine audience were somewhat curious as to why we were lying in their dried out cowpats to achieve these pictures!
Earlier in the summer we visited the Dorset Wildlife Trust Centre near Dorchester and were amazed to see these weird creatures climbing the reeds out of their pond.
As they didn't seem to be moving I eventually gave one a prod to see if it was alive and to my dissapointment it felt like a plastic sculpture that someone had pinned there for a joke. Curious we later showed our picture to someone at the Kingscombe visitor centre who confirmed they were the exuvia that dragonfly nymphs leave behind. They climb out of the water and the dragonfly will exit the 'casing' from the back. You can just see the exit hole with strands of white hanging down in this picture.
Isn't nature wonderful? I was taught quite a lot about these things as a child but I had never come across these before and still find this incredibly exciting.
Last picture is I think a 'common blue' we saw in May - its head looks like a little skull!
*The Hardy monument is dedicated to "Kiss me" Hardy - Nelson's best mate, not Thomas Hardy as I had always believed. Who knew?