Most of the times that I am looking for a good photo of a bird, insect, mammal or butterfly etc., I have to work hard to get what I am looking for, and yet there are times when the perfect specimen appears and settles down and waits until you have got all the photos that you want, and this week’s Dragonfly, did just that. This was a very good day for me, as I had never seen this species before.
I was out with my partner and her son, and we had parked the cars at the Kingarth and Kilchattan Bay War Memorial, and headed for a walk doing the 'Drumreoch' circuit, which takes you past ,what used to be a farm of that name, now a steading for cattle and fodder, then, carried on to another path which takes you to 'Lord James' Ride', then you end up on the 'Scoulag Moor Road', turn right, and back to the cars. I had been taking photos of butterflies, and anything else that moved, and had a good day in amateur photographer terms. My camera had just been put in the car boot, when this delightful flying insect passed us by, and I thought that was it, no luck here for a photo, but lady luck was with me as it had landed and seemed perfectly happy to hang around for a while.
Well! My camera was back in my hands at high speed, and I proceeded to the fence post that it had alighted on. Moving very slowly, taking photos all the time, trying to keep the camera steady with my shaking arms, and got what you see now, an excellent image of a 'Common Hawker' Dragonfly. I say common, but I am only 99% sure that it is the 'Common' one as there are a few others that fit the bill, and they are all very alike, but as they are not seen very often, I don't foresee a problem in my identification.
It had a black body with twin blue and yellow spots, with the blue ones being much larger. It was about 70 millimetres long, (2¾ Inches) with clear double wings which give them fantastic manoeuvrability. All in all, a fantastic flying insect. I have sat and watched other species fly round and round their territory looking for food on the wing, and going at high speed in one direction, then about turn and go in the other direction without even slowing down.
They are all originally from the tropics, but over the many years, many species have moved north and bred, giving us a bit of high speed chasing, a bit of colour, and a topic of conversation.
First Published in the Buteman 23-02-2007.