I was able to get the whole process on camera so will let the pictures do the talking....
|Hatching out of the nymph case or exuvia. Dragonfly nymphs spend their first year in water, then, when ready to emerge, the nymph climbs up out of the water, up to a metre away from the pond into vegetation where the adult dragonfly emerges|
|Empty exuvia holding on to the grass blade, and brand new dragon on my finger!|
|These are the wings, the pointy thin things on his back|
|Empty nymph case|
|Empty nymph case|
|Wings starting to fill out|
|And a bit more....|
|Wings now transparent|
|Hey Presto! Both sets of wings open and fully functioning, and having attempted his first flight...|
|For his second flight he landed on me!|
So the second Dragon was off on his own and doing well. The third one seemed to be doing all the right things, but once his wings became transparent it became apparent that he couldn't open the first pair.
It's always hard to know when to intervene and when to leave well alone. On the whole I feel that mother nature generally knows best and it's wise to let things be; nature has a way of working out things and you can do damage by rushing in too eagerly to help. So, we left the third dragon holding onto some grasses by the pond and got on with our day, hoping that with time the wings would unstick. BUT, when I went back to check him a few hours later towards the end of the afternoon, he was still there with the wings stuck in the same position, and I realised that without help he wouldn't make it through the night, or indeed ever be able to fly.
So, VERY carefully I picked him up and used a thin blade of grass to explore what was going on with his wings. One set worked fine and were open, but the first pair were glued together, as you can see in the following pics. By sliding the grass very carefully between the wings I could see they were only stuck together in one place, and with some very careful and gentle work with the grass blade, I was eventually able to free them....
|Top wings stuck together|
|And from a head-on angle|
|Lower wings open, top wings shut fast. Did you notice pops fast asleep in the background...?|
|Hey Presto! Two pairs of open and working wings!|
|Who's a proper dragonfly now then?|
|Maiden Flight Success- straight into the grasses near where he hatched out|
|And then back to me again!|
Dragonflies live in their adult state only for a couple of months so the majority of their life is passed as a nymph under water. All Broad-Bodied chasers look this golden colour when new. The males then turn powder blue as they mature and the females retain their golden sheen, so these are probably a mix of boys and girls. I'm just thrilled because it means the pond is really working and supporting all kinds of aquatic life.
There were also loads of Large Red and Azure damsels hatching out that day. By comparison, they only live for a fortnight, so their time is short and sweet and most of it seems to be spent mating and egg-laying....
Things have been busy on the Moth Front too with a goodly haul this morning (despite Mr Robin's best attempts to divest the surrounding area of small flying sleepy people and also the fact that it rained in the night). There were a few new ones....
|Our Old Friend, The Buff-Tip|
|BT head on|
|Delicately Pretty Clouded Border|
|Ubiquitous at the moment- the Orange Footman|
|Scorched wing with trademark sticky-up-tail|
|The Beautiful White Ermine|
I'll leave you with another Source Of Excitement for me over the weekend....
|Cercopsis vulnerata, who is an unusally marked Froghopper. Their discovery caused Some Dancing, much to M's amusement :-)|
|Feed Me! No, Feed Me! No, Me!|
Hope all are well?