I know insects aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but the way I see it, I have all winter to concentrate on Birds and Mammals and these guys aren’t going to be around for much longer. I was reminded how short this period was during my pursuit to increase the dragonfly species count at The Canyon this year. I’ve noticed that there weren’t any Chasers or Skimmers present when there is usually several buzzing around the lake on a hot sunny day like today. I was reminded on Twitter though, that the season for these types of Dragonfly have already passed and most of the adults have reproduced and have since perished during August. It’s such a short life for a Dragonfly and they all have slightly different peak emergence times throughout the year, which makes a lot of sense from a survival perspective, as this way, they aren’t competing for the same food supplies. Black Darters emerge rather late in the year in comparison to other Darter species, so thankfully there are lots around. 10+ Males are 3 females were spotted in the last two days, which is more than I’ve ever seen at the canyon.
I’ve known of a couple sites in Ebbw Vale for a while now that holds a rarer hawker species called a Brown Hawker. I’ve been meaning to make a visit myself and was given an extra push after a tweet from Lee Gregory who reported 2 Brown Hawkers at Waun-y-Pound ponds. As the weather was good and I had a meeting in Ebbw Vale, I went straight over there and connected with 2 Brown Hawkers almost instantly upon arriving at the middle pond. I didn’t realise they were so big! I watched one catch a mating pair of Common Darters and it actually ate them both! What a monster! I couldn’t get a great pic but the one I did get shows just how camouflaged they are and also the habitat they chose to roost in which is primarily heather patches.
Here’s a Southern Hawker, Painted Lady Butterfly and some more of a very obliging male Black Darter.