Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Four-spoted Chaser

Four-spotted Chaser
Four-spotted Chaser

The Four-spotted Chaser Dragonfly.

This is a story about me and a few of these Dragonflies, which I have been eager to catch for quite a few years.

It began at the Mountstuart reservoir, a short distance from the Kingarth and Kilchattan Bay War Memorial. I had observed them a few times and tried to get a couple of photos of them, but to no avail. They did not land at each time I was about. I even tried putting a thin stick in to a crevice between the whin sets at the water’s edge, with it facing out over the water, and they would use this to cast their eyes over the pond a trick that has worked often with other species, but not with these ones. I even got a camera that was capable of catching them in fast flight, but no joy. They would stop in mid-air for a couple of seconds, and just as I was pressing the button, off they went. I gave up and went on my way.
Then last year I bought a Butterfly Net, so I thought, now then I will catch you no-probs. At least that is what I thought, but they knew better. I tried many times but they can be flying along a t a good speed. Then as I swung the net into their flight path they went into reverse. Time after time they did this and I got tired before they did, so I once more went home with no images. I went back a few more times in their season but no joy.
Jump to this year.
I was ready to take on these elusive mini helicopters once more with myself getting more practice with my net with butterflies and daytime moths. So now I approached the reservoir once more, and waited and waited, watching the tadpoles and palmate newts feeding. And there was a right bundle of them at one area. There must have been about a hundred. I have never seen so many in such a small space, and after about an hour they were still there.
Back to the task in question. Sure enough there was the Dragonfly at its usual spot. Flying about without a care in the world. Well it approached me many times, and then gave me the usual body swerve, time and time again. Each time it flew towards me, I thought, I will get you this time, but no, it eluded me again and again. By this time I was getting embarrassed and tired and glad there was no one around to see me swing my net around and around.
Well luck was with me as another dragonfly of the same species came into the scene, and the one that I was trying to catch was not amused one bit, and they flew around each other, ignoring me, so I let loose with my net and finally got one, well not the way that intended to. I hit one of them for six with the metal rim of my net damaging its front wings, and body, and unfortunately it died during the night. I pride myself catching and release, but it goes wrong sometimes. All is not lost however, as it will soon be beside others in the Museum.
Norrie Mulholland

First Published in the Buteman 28-06-2013




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