Wednesday, 20 May 2015

A glamoruous dragonfly hints at summer’s warm days.

This exquisite creature is a Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly, newly hatched and showing itself off  in the mid May sunshine. These are musclely, showy critters spangled gold when they first emerge. When they take to the wing it looks like someone has chucked a fistful of cheap and cheerful chocolates in the air, wrappers glittering. They are also confiding, allowing a close approach, confident in their getaway speed. Like many dragonflies they wiggle and tilt their heads as you sneak up trying to catch a better view of you. This one was loitering in Newcastle today. I am not sure if they have established at Druridge  Bay, but they have been moving north over the last twenty years, like so many of their relatives. Broad Bodied Chasers are often very quick to turn up in new ponds, even sites with very little vegetation. This individual may be a male or female. The females stay this beautiful collage of gold and browns whilst the males develop a powder blue coating over the abdomen as they mature. Newly hatched males have the same colours as females maybe to reduce trouble from their older kin who see off contenders for the same territories in aerial duels.
I found this one today three weeks earlier than I normally spot them, and the first Common Blue damselflies were fluttering up too, also early. Keep your eyes open along the Bay. The coastal wetlands are top spots for dragonflies and damselflies in the north east but under-recorded. I suspect there are many dragonflies  to be found between Cresswell and Amble that we’ve not noticed before and these unusually early arrivals may be a good omen

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