Friday, 15 July 2011

An evening assignation with Mrs Brown

Whoa! Don't panic! This isn't a lurid tale of tasteless journalistic fervour, no mobile phones are involved and the only hacking in evidence was the loss of a small amount of undergrowth in one of our borders.

Neither is it a belated, but nevertheless, shocking revelation concerning the private life of Queen Victoria and her faithful Scottish servant, neither of whom, as far as I know, ever visited the sleepy Buckinghamshire village of Milton Keynes.

However, it is about time that we had a dragon post (and not that Rebekah What's-her-name, either). I had been hoping to return from an odonatologically abstinent holiday to discover clouds of damsels and dragons filling the skies of England (Tense... Tense... wake up, mate! You're dreaming!), but things are a bit quiet around Planet Odo at the moment. So it was a most pleasant surprise, last evening, to have a Brown Hawker, Aeshna grandis, visit us, as we sat in the back garden.

It was about 6pm, the day was still warm with plenty of sunshine and Our Lass and I were partaking of a mug of tea, whilst watching the comings and goings around the pond. Wasps were making countless trips to collect water for their paper-making exploits (or new paper sting operation, as I like to think of it) and a Lesser Stag Beetle pottered across the paving stones, oblivious to the comparative nominative slight handed out by humans.

Suddenly, a dragonfly appeared, made a few exploratory flights in the warmest corner of the garden and disappeared into an overhanging Clematis clambering over the fence from next door's garden. This seemed a little early for a Brown Hawker to settle down for the night, as we have often observed them flying quite late, towards dusk. Upon checking the vegetation, however, it did appear that this female dragonfly was intent on doing just that.

Despite still being hampered by a poorly knee, Our Lass was able to manoeuvre herself and her camera into position in order to capture the below image.

I checked the hedge at 6am this morning and this grand lady was still there.

To loosely connect this post with our Orkney holiday, the dialect phrase for 'last night' is the streen, a contraction of 'yesterday's evening'. Strangely, English use of 'today' is apparently a contraction of the day, the more correct Orcadian phrase. Whilst most bizarrely, on Orkney, 'tomorrow' is the morn. I was most confused when a lady on local radio stated that an exhibition was opening at "2.30 the morn". Jings, I thought, who's going to get up that early?

1 comment:

Bob Bushell said...

Terrific story and a photo of the Brown Hawker, awesome.