Saturday, 12 July 2014

Banding together

With the sun shining and le tour de france underway my thoughts turned to Banded Demoiselles so it was off to Bellasis Bridge this morning and there they were, as every year this day about seven squabbling males and two females. This male had a prime hunting perch on a sunlit rock.
Just upstream of the rock was an area of weed just covered by the flowing river Blyth onto which the male occasionally descended. Presenting his ideal home perhaps. Eventually a female passed by.............
and after a brief chase they got jiggy with it on an overhanging grass stem in coitus that appears just a little brutal. Then came the bit I didn't know about.
They both uncoupled and after a brief flight descended to the patch of weeds whereupon the female submerged herself and clung to one of the stems whilst the male stood guard on the surface. That's her on her side just to the right of him. 
Eventually he retreated back to his rock seeing off any male or female that came close while she oviposited on the stem below the water. I waited for her to surface and wondered if she had drowned (how do Dragonflies breathe?) but she was moving about clinging to the stem and minutes turned into half an hour. I was hoping to get the moment when she returned to the surface to dry her wings but the damn phone went and I had to return to the purgatory that currently is family life. More bandies on the way next year though.

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