Last Dragonflies of the Summer

Southern_Hawker_Dragonfly

It carried on raining heavily here yesterday afternoon, so I didn’t get out with the camera as planned. Millie, Jill, the Puppy and I had to content ourselves with a slippery walk through the woods after work. I don’t mind working in the rain, in fact I rather like it, but you have to have a purpose and yesterday afternoon I couldn’t think of one. Seduced by tea and a warm office I contented myself with an afternoon spent catching up on emails and going through some more of the images from last month. September in our part of Somerset was a glorious month most of which I viewed through the office window whilst ploughing through a pile of work all marked ‘Urgent’. However I did manage to sneak out into the garden and the woods occasionally with the camera and on one of these brief escapes from work I was surrounded by a host of large dragonflies. We get them in the garden all the time from June through to September but never in these numbers; this was a host of biblical proportions. From the lime green spots and large size I think that they were Southern Hawkers which the books describe as hunting well away from water often in woodland and being probably the most curious of dragonflies. I had several exploring my head that afternoon, so I can personally vouch for their curiosity and I was in woodland.

Southern_Hawker_Dragonfly-2

These are fast flying predators often catching their insect prey mid-air and they are also capable of flying backwards. I assume that the species got the Hawker name because of the similarity between their hunting methods and those of the hobbies who predate them. Early this summer I managed to photograph a hobby having an inflight snack and I’ve included the images at the bottom of this post. The bird was at distance over a lake, so apologies for the quality.

Southern_Hawker_Dragonfly-5Southern_Hawker_Dragonfly-4

There were four Hobbys hawking the North Lake at Westhay Reserve climbing high into the sky until they were just dots and then gliding down over the lake at speed. In the last image the wing segments and carapace are discarded – the ultimate fast food.

Hobby_with_DragonflyHobby_with_Dragonfly-2Hobby_with_Dragonfly-3Hobby_with_Dragonfly-4

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Author: Hares on the Hill

I am a designer and photographer. I live with my wife and our two dogs in the Welsh Marches, a land full of history, legends, mountains, rivers and dragon's breath; a place where animism thrives. To our north are the Cambrian Mountains, the Elenydd, a vast plateau so ancient that its mountains now have the appearance of steeply rounded moorland hills; to the east is England; to the south stand the Black Mountains and in the west the Brecon Beacons rise around the twin summits of Pen y Fan and Corn Du, the highest mountain in West Wales.

5 thoughts on “Last Dragonflies of the Summer”

  1. Thank you, glad you liked the images. Not so much steady hand as very fast shutter speed, Nikons’ brilliant focus tracking and a considerable amount of luck. I was admiring your Abandoned House images earlier.

  2. Peter, what do you mean, apologies for the quality? Not at all, they’re excellent. Managed to see at least a couple of Hobbies escorting hirundines back on their way to Africa, at Durlston CP at the weekend. I do admire these special raptors.

    Kind Regards

    Tony

    1. That’s an encouraging comment, thank you. Have the heard the story of why the football board game Subbuteo was so called? A friend told me the other day and I had to look up the classification to be sure. Peter Adolph the creator of the game was not granted the trademark name Hobby so he called it Subbuteo from Falco subbuteo – his favourite raptor.

      1. Yes, I had read about that as I believe it’s quoted in Birds Britannica. Nevertheless, you can understand why Peter Adolph would greatly admire the Hobby.

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