school garden

school garden

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Hawkers and Darters

A few minutes relaxation sat at the pond this morning paid off. Within minutes a new species of dragonfly for the school garden was seen and photographed - a Migrant Hawker- and then a male Common Darter arrived and set up territory on the large pebbles. Within seconds a second male Common Darter arrived and for some ten minutes or so these two male darter dragonflies battled it out to see who would keep the territory.

A speedy chase was made to catch up with the Migrant Hawker as it frequently sped around the garden before returning to the pond. It was photographed trying to hide on one of the sunflower stems.

The male Migrant Hawker

Detail of the thorax - the yellow wine glass shape clinches the identification

The male Common Darter
Away from the pond the pumpkins continue to dominate the garden. There are several very large pumpkins now. I am not sure who is going to claim what when the competition comes round!

As the summer slowly slides into autumn the flowers around the pond are all but disappearing, Still  left in full bloom are the water mint (still looking for that elusive little green beetle), Purple Loosestrife, Great Willow-herb and the handsome Angelica


Angelica is a widely used herb. The stems can be candied - they are delicious! Try one straight out of the jar if your mum will let you. The plant is also used for bronchial and digestive problems, blood enrichment, rheumatism, arthritis and even influenza. It was once even thought to cure the plague.

Water Mint

Great Willow-herb

The magnificent flower of the Great Willow-herb

Finally you cannot help but admire those pond skaters. Wonderful insects which balance their life on the cusp of 'above and below' water.  A close look  at their legs reveals that they do not actually stand on the water but sit on bended knees.

Pond Skater -on bended knees! (click to enlarge photograph)

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