R and I went on a dragonfly hunt this afternoon, along the River Avon at Eckington, near Pershore. There were dozens of Banded Demoiselles dancing about, and a good number of Red-eyed Damselflies, but we’d walked a fair way – stopping every time we reached a vacant fishing stand, so that I could get right down to the water’s edge to check the vegetation – before R spotted our first dragon. I’d like to say a public thank you to R actually, because he’s a great partner in crime for this kind of activity: he’s always been really good at finding small lost things (buttons, earring scrolls, etc.), and he now applies the same skill to spotting insects for me – all the while uncomplainingly lugging my extra camera gear. I just hope that he doesn’t get bored with retirement and decide to take up working again!
Anyway, this is that first dragon, looking slightly nervous because he’d already been barged off his perch twice – once by another dragonfly, and once by a Banded Demoiselle. (R had asked me a few minutes earlier if dragonflies eat demoiselles, and I’d confidently said that they do – after all, they’re not above eating each other – but no-one seems to have told the Eckington BDs, which were as uppity as you please this afternoon.) He’s a mature Scarce Chaser, showing the blue eyes and powdery blue pruinescence along his abdomen that I mentioned when I posted this immature individual a few days ago.
In this part of Worcestershire the River Avon forms an S shape; we were standing right at the tail end of the S when I took this photo, and the section of Tiddesley Wood where I found the young Scarce Chaser sits just to the north west of the upper curve; if you followed the river the two points would be maybe five miles apart, but as the crow – or dragon – flies, it’s only a couple of miles from here to Tiddesley. I’m already planning a return visit to explore the river here more thoroughly, because I think it may yield more Odonata before the summer is out – and if I can track it to the point where it most closely approaches the wood, I may even be able to pinpoint the Common Club-tail stronghold.
If you’re interested, I’ve put a few other photos from our walk here.