roaming the wilds of south west Surrey
A week or two ago I went to Winkworth Arboretum in the early morning to take some pictures. The autumn is only just getting going, so there are only hints of the blazing colours I’m looking forward to. The low sun was hitting these young trees, though, as though it had ignited them, and they provided a lovely backdrop for these geese grazing on the white-dewed grass.
Back to the garden, now. Here is a Southern Hawker Dragonfly laying eggs around the margins of our pond. Hawkers are our biggest dragonflies (The Emperor, our biggest dragon, is a hawker) and Southern Hawkers are very impressive creatures in flight. They’re also curious, and will fly right up to you to check you out, which can be slightly disconcerting when they examine you with those enormous compound eyes.
You can see her ovipositor – a specialised egg-laying organ – injecting the eggs into the moss. These dragons don’t lay their eggs directly into the water, instead depositing them on plant stems, moss or stones around the pond margin. As the water level of the pond naturally rises in the winter, the eggs will be submerged when it’s time to hatch, and if not, the hatching nymphs will scent and head for the water.