This afternoon we sat by the pond to have a cup of tea and to look for butterflies. This was slightly optimistic because it was softly raining at the time and the chance of butterflies was at best poor. However, our perseverance in the face of adversity was rewarded when we saw that we were in the midst of a mass synchronised emergence of Broad Bodied Chasers and thank goodness we didn’t miss it!

Broad Bodied Chasers emerging

There were probably about ten newly emerged dragonflies waiting to go off. It had been a warm dry morning which had maybe encouraged them to come out of the water but they should have seen the forecast because it has now been raining all afternoon and it must be difficult for them to heat up and get the blood coursing through their wings so that they can fly.

Broad Bodied Chasers are early colonisers of new ponds. Our pond was filled in March last year and so it has had just one summer. I looked up their lifecycle and it apparently does usually take two years – that is the larvae are two years in water – but sometimes it only takes a year as in this case. The females are this yellow colour but the males are a beautiful smoky blue. However, the blue develops later and the juvenile male adults are yellow and so we probably have both sexes here, not just females emerging.

Here are photos of the Broad Bodied Chasers on the pond that we took last year:

A male Broad Bodied Chaser
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A female Broad Bodied Chaser
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A female shining gold in the sun.

The vacated larvae cases of the Broad bodied chasers are short and wide. However, there were also at least ten larvae of another type clinging on to the Irises:



A Hawker larva with a fly on it

Looking in our dragonfly book, these could well be Hawker dragonfly larvae, possibly the Southern Hawker and they have climbed out of the water but are yet to emerge. Its amazing to think that a very large dragonfly is about to come out of these. We will try to catch this as it happens.

In other pond news, yesterday the first Iris flower opened:

A beautiful yellow flag Iris comes into flower by the pond.

Its a lovely bloom and we are expecting a lot more by next week.



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