Tigers, Nymphs and Dragonflies

Category: Wendy's Wanderings 04 September 2013

Just hatched!
A pair Privet Hawk Moths (Sphinx ligustri)

A summer to remember after 6 yrs without one. I think it is only fair that the next 5 follow suit to make up for it! This summer’s garden delights started with a lovely crop of small tomatoes and progressed to a tiger in the raspberry patch. Actually, that was a lie, there were two, drying out on a wooden post, watching the world buzz by. I wondered aimlessly as a cloud until I spotted the first, I dashed to the house to grab my Canon G11 and tripping up the steps as I went I need not have rushed, she had clearly recently hatched and was content drying out her wings in the morning warmth, too stupefied to move.

Almost 4.5 cm long the privet hawk moth is one of our largest and she was kind enough to show off her younger brother who was hiding beside her!! Underneath the brown wings they both had a loud pink body that all ‘Cindy’ doll owners would have been proud of. By the end of the day after much viewing they disappeared into the bush to hunt. What a rare treat to find something in 50 yrs I had never seen before, travelling was arduous, the flight being as long as the trip up the garden path!

The Privot Hawk Moth
as a Caterpillar

Photo: Sharyn Meeks


A week or two later another sighting, this time clearing the pond of 7 yrs of smellie sludge I came across some pretty gruesome looking aquatic beetles almost 3cm long wearing backpacks, or at least that was what it looked like. Another google search and I discovered I had rescued 12 potential Cordulegaster boltonii’s.....to you and me, Golden-ringed dragonflies. However they can live up to 5 years in a pond, once hatched they only have a 3 month period of flirting, mating and egg laying ending in death. Oh, what it is to be beautiful!!

A Golden-ringed dragonfly

Over the course of a week, I spotted one having climbed the water iris stem, hatched but flown, ‘Damn I missed it’, keep an eye Noton there must be more. Day two I dash out and beetle two had flown the nest, day three (third time lucky), sibling three decided to get up way too early. Having rescued them all from a premature death I thought it only polite to be able to see them at their best.

Day four, I got up much earlier to finally see number four still drying out her wings, the day was still with no wind, my G11 and I played until a magical moment ‘What is that sound?’ a buzzing, fluttering sound that slowly gathered momentum and volume, but no other insects are up yet, ‘What can it be?’ I get closer to my prize to discover she is not any different to the aeroplanes at Bristol airport, she is revving up her engines getting ready for her maiden flight, 3-4 minutes later she turns her head to me and sets off on her voyage of discovery, whilst I have experienced something truly unique.

Gardens..... its a jungle out there!!

Have a happy Autumn!

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David Noton Photography
Clark House
Milborne Port

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