For the last week or so, we have noticed lots and lots of common darter dragonflies around the edge of Betty’s Wood, our newly-planted area adjacent to the ancient woodland area. At the edge of this site, we have a wide strip that is naturally-regenerating woodland, with a central area that has been planted. Whenever we see a little sapling emerging, we protect it with a tree-guard and cane to help prevent it being browsed off by muntjac deer and rabbits, at least until it is able to take care of itself. So we have a lot of these canes sticking up among the grass and wildflowers. It is these canes that common darter dragonflies seem to love.
On almost every cane along the south-eastern border of the woods, in the shelter of the trees, sits a common darter. Males and females are both sitting there, occasionally jousting for position on what is presumably a more desirable cane.
Dragonflies love to sit on dead stems of reedmace, sedges and other emergent plants in the ponds, but despite having a profusion of these emergent stems, the common darters seem to prefer the bamboo canes, and particularly like the sheltered section in the lee of the ancient wood, where there is little wind and lots of sun for most of the day.
I managed to take a few pictures of these beautiful dragonflies over the last few days in the midst of all our hay-making activity.