Friday, 9 October 2009

A dragon and a comma

A surprise find as I walked up in the valley last week. A dragonfly darted past me and came to rest on a clump of rust brown bracken. The morning sun shone on its wings and encouraged it to stay in the welcome warmth.

This was a new species to me. I am grateful to the fascinating website of the British Dragonfly Society which helped with identification and research.

Click on the picture to enlarge and see the beauty of this insect`s detailed markings.

The Golden-ringed dragonfly, Cordulegaster boltonii, has striking black and yellow-gold rings on thorax and abdomen. The female is the longest dragonfly in Britain ( about 84 cm long) and has a long ovipositor. I think that this may have been a female. These stunning insects breed in acidic rivers and streams, such as those running through the sandy New Forest heathlands. This one was a fair distance from running water, but it is apparently common to see them on heathland and a flight away from their breeding habitats.

A Comma in the Lane.

This was one of several comma butterflies feasting on blackberries on a late September day.

The comma butterly, Polygonia c-album, is often seen on late summer days in New Forest hedgerows and gardens. In early summer it feeds on the nectar of flowers. In later months it feeds on the juices of ripe fruits fallen to the orchard floor or on berries like these sun ripened blackberries growing on the top of a high hedge.

The comma, with its unusual raggedy wings, is named because there is a white mark in the shape of a comma, hidden on the underside of the wings.

This comma, with bright orange wings, looked fresh and newly hatched. If it does not fall prey to a migrating bird in flight then it may survive the winter in a secret hiding place, to emerge again in the warmer days of spring.


Bovey Belle said...

We have had a couple of solitary dragonflies over our pond in recent weeks - sadly, not coinciding with one another. One was just like yours, and the other I think is an Emperor Dragonfly. I haven't seen a Comma since the end of August and our blackberries are over now . . .

Morning's Minion said...

The dragonflies I am most familiar with have bright blue bodies--don't know their proper name. Our winter has come so quickly and severely that I wonder about the woolly bears and dragonflies and such that we were seeing mere days before the onset of the cold.