I arrived home from work on Friday night and thought,
"Stuff this for a game of soldiers, I need some quality dragon time."
This wasn't a back-handed compliment to Our Lass, more a feeling that the flight season was passing me by and I wanted to see some winged beauty. And where did I want to see it? On the Long Mynd, of course. Forget loyalty to one's county of residence, when the going gets tough, take a two and half hour journey west (Yes, I suppose I could've titled the post "Go West!", but Iron Maiden was always going to beat the Pet Shop Boys to that honour).This response to the siren call of the Shropshire dragons was welcomed whole-heartedly by Our Lass, so the next morning, off we went.
Up on the moor, between Church Stretton and Ratlinghope, we parked by a series of pools and let the peace and quiet, the heathery atmosphere and the trickle of running water soak into our souls. Deep breaths, eyes closed, relax.
Now... to business. The day was reasonably warm, but the sky was mostly cloudy. A north westerly breeze delivered a few gaps in the fluffy stuff, so that for a few minutes at a time, the temperature would rise and a few dragonflies would take to the air. We managed to identify ten species, but only saw ones and twos of most of these. Plan B was to return the following day, when the weather forecast was much better.
And so it proved. A wonderfully sunny day, though still with that north westerly breeze, saw plenty of insects on the wing. I don't think we had ever seen so many Green-veined White or Grayling butterflies, never mind the odes.
Whilst exploring the pools and wet flushes, we came across a flower that we didn't recognise. We have been visiting this area for nearly twenty years but hadn't previously seen it before, so to say that we were surprised would be an understatement. Later, upon our return to Tense Towers, we discovered that it was Bog Pimpernel.
And what of the objects of my desires? Well, they did not disappoint. Responding to the increased levels of heat and light, many more dragons put in an appearance and we were able to spend plenty of time in the their presence, including the gorgeous Golden-ringed Dragonfly.
According to its taxonomic code, the Number of this Beast is a non-threatening 2601.