Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Lists of Gold
The little stream that rises at the duckpond in Venterdon runs the length of the valley below Old Mill where it takes a meandering course before gathering pace and running through Luckett into the Tamar. Today golden ringed dragonflies were patrolling up and down the path that runs on the northern side of the stream. It was bathed in warm sunshine. Himalayan balsam (that has spread like mad in this area) lines either side of the path, and bird's foot trefoil and eyebright grow on its floor. This creates a natural space for jousting. The males fly up and down, and when they meet engage in high speed agile aerial combat. In WW2 fights between fighter planes were always referred to as dog fights; dragonfly fights would have been more accurate. After a fight the combatants land to take a breather and allow some close up photography. At the same time a couple of male common blue butterflies were also engaged in territorial warfare. In previous years this path was lined by more familiar plants like valerian and hemp agrimony. I am not sure how much of a problem Himalayan balsam is, but it would be a mighty undertaking now to get rid of it.
The close up shows the amazing pixellation of the dragonfly's compound eyes.