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Dragonfly Delight

Of all the projects I've done since we moved to Somerset the pond I look at from my desk takes some beating. It was only finished in late spring, the happy child of a pond creation course we ran with Hugh Roberts - you might remember my original blog about it. Everyone seems to say the same thing about well planned wildlife ponds: "I have been amazed at how quickly the animals moved in". Well, I'm amazed at how quickly the animals moved in. It has been a fantastic illustration of what we are trying to promote; a stunning landscape feature which also happens to be stuffed with the most beautiful and/or intriguing fauna. To start with, the plants have been a revelation. I had no idea native plants for water margins could be so pretty, nor that they could get established so quickly. We haven't yet seen the half of it as we used plugs and a seed mix, which won't flower until next year and includes some of my absolute all time favourite plants. As to the animals that are pitching up...extraordinary. I've already blogged about the bees, now enjoying the Purple loosestrife, and the butterflies love the nectar plants too. Of course there all the aquatic invertebrates, of which I suppose my favourite are the shiny plump water beetles. I wonder which they are? Time for closer investigation. The most exotic to my untutored eye are the dragonflies and damselflies. Earlier this summer we had Broad-bodied Chasers, and in the course of yesterday I saw an Emperor Dragonfly and some lovely Damselflies (I think a Common coenagrion and Banded demoiselle), together with a sudden clattering of wings and beating flurry of mating Common sympetrums. Not surprisingly the variety and number of birds around the pond is off the clock...
Common sympetrum Common sympetrum dragonfly
Banded demoiselle damselfly Banded demoiselle damselfly
Enallagma cyathigerum Common coenagrion?
It's sad that I find this explosion of animal life so remarkable; ponds seem to be much less in our collective consciousness now, which is something the Freshwater Habitats Trust's Million Ponds Project is trying to reverse. Project director Jeremy Biggs has the most brilliant blog, incidentally, which is an invaluable online resource. Perhaps he could help me out with my damselflies and beetles...