Walking back towards the car in Stratford this afternoon, through the park on the south side of the river, I mentioned to R that I wanted to check the reeds around Lucy’s Mill Bridge for dragonflies. Neither of us could see anything on the south side of the bridge; nor flying along the river, when we stood in the middle of the bridge for a few minutes watching the water; but on the north side we both immediately spotted a couple of male Banded Demoiselles. They were quite a long way from the bank, even for the reach of the Big Zoom, but I got some record shots, did a little Crash Bandicoot dance, and turned away to leave quite happily.
Right at the foot of the bridge though, is a nettle bed through which a path has been trampled (probably by dogs), going right down to the water’s edge. “I’ll just take a quick look….” I said, presenting my handbag to R, climbing over a spaniel, and stepping carefully down onto the last couple of feet of bank, before turning to scan the nettles. “There!” said R, pointing – at the exact moment when I caught the dramatic fluttering of a male BD’s beautiful wings. The more we looked, the more we saw, and for probably ten minutes I clicked away busily, while R stood at the top of the bank patiently spotting for me, and carrying my flowery Cath Kidson handbag with nonchalant style.
The main image here is a female, being green with (unbanded) gold wings. Ideally, of course, she’d be in focus from prow to stern, but I didn’t quite get my angle right, and I won’t waste your time with excuses. Just for balance, the extra is a male, showing the gorgeous blue colour and dark banded wings that make these Banded Demoiselles so instantly recognisable – and with him, I nailed the focus at the back end, and his face is slightly soft. More practice needed, clearly!
If you’re not already exhausted, I’ve put one more photo on my Facebook page, of a teneral male; he’s pretty well-developed, but still slightly pale (most noticeably in the eyes), and his wings are a little crinkly.