Monday 26 August 2013

Odonata Tensica 4

Summer's into the home straight now and about to fall across the line into Autumn. So this may be the last chance to report on the dragons and damsels that frequent the environs of Tense Towers. Luckily, as it was a Bank Holiday weekend, I could afford to lose Saturday to rain and still have two days of odonata-encouraging sunshine.

Even better, we had family staying over (my brother and his wife) and it was first blood to the girls as they spotted a Common Darter taking its maiden flight. Then we found another, still perched on top of its exuvia, waiting for its wings to harden. This is the third episode of emergence of Sympetrum striolatum from our pond this Summer - 27/28 July, 11 August and now 25 August. Previous years' emergences have been more synchronised than that.

Over lunch, I noticed a damsel fluttering around the conservatory. She was a Common Blue and was reasonably easy to repatriate to the Big Outdoors.

Towards evening, we noticed that there had been a third Common Darter at the pond, but it was caught in a spider's web and too badly 'silked' to rescue without causing more damage. But that's Nature, I guess.

Today, we had a Common Darter ovipositing in the pond and a Southern Hawker egg-laying in the plant pots near the water (not sure if that'll be successful!). Then, in the early evening, I was sat in the lounge replying to the raft of comments left on the blog by JD, when I heard a strange noise. At first I thought it was the sound of water falling from a great height onto a hard surface, but as I listened more carefully, I realised it was much more serious than that. Dragon wings on glass! Dashing to the conservatory, I discovered a female Southern Hawker bouncing off the underside of the roof and then lodging herself into the joint between the windows and the roof.

Several times I managed to persuade her to perch on my finger, but as soon as started to move away from the glass, she would take flight again, attracted by the light and warmth of the windows. A few more attempted rescues saw her wing-whirring, whilst sat on my hand, to create heat in her wing muscles before the inevitable dash to crash once more.

Fortunately, her next flight was nearer to the door, so that when I extracted her from the roof joint, she was able to launch from my hand and back into the wide blue yonder.

It had been a frantic few minutes, but Our Lass managed to capture the denouement with classic good timing...

The retrieval
The release


Tales of a Bank Vole said...

What is it with these Southern Hawker chicks? One tried to oviposit on my foot Sunday morning - along with bit of a boardwalk, a concrete wall and a gravel path. Do any of these pottily potted eggs succeed and if so, do the larvae have to leg it to water or are they all doomed from the start?

Imperfect and Tense said...

Er... pot luck? As there's Southern Hawkers about, it must work.

Martin said...

My first thought is that you should have send someone outside to cover the attractive daylight through the roof, so that she was more inclined to come with you.. but I expect she'd have just be attracted to the next light pane instead.

Imperfect and Tense said...

I could've waited until it was cooler, then she would be more likely to remain on my hand absorbing heat, but I was concerned that she would wreck her wings on the glass before that point.