Monday, August 8, 2011
There are two reasons I enjoy having our garden next to a lake. One is because we water from the lake (a huge benefit) and two, because we receive an occasional visit from dragonflies -- my favorite insect. The other day a dragonfly decided to sun him/herself on our garden fence. We didn't have the electricity on at the time. I am sure if we had he would not have visited.
I don't know enough about dragonflies to identify this one. It is not the easiest thing to do because they are very fast creatures. I used to think they liked me and were very curious and that was why they hovered around me when I was close to the water. Now I know they ARE very curious, with compound eyes that have, according to experts, 30,000 lenses -- the better to see you with. But I think they know they are so much faster than I am that they can hover and inspect me without fearing they will be caught.
This one sat sunning on the wire while I crawled almost underneath him to grab these photos. I suspect he was watching me closely, too. This one was almost all black and though I don't know what to call him, I imagine it could be a Southern Sprite, a Sun or Shadowdragon, or even a River Cruiser, Spiketail or Skimmer of some kind.
I do know they eat mosquitoes, ants and other insects so they are welcome visitors. There have been times when I have held out my hand and a dragonfly has accepted my invitation and landed for a second or two. I have frequently been buzzed and inspected. I have also read that since they spend most of their lives as immature nymphs and only spend a couple of months with the ability to zoom around inspecting the larger world around the pond, that they make the most out of the time they have. It may be a "life lesson" -- I don't know, nature provides many of those.
I disagree with the European view that dragonflies are sinister. They don't sting and I've never heard of anyone being bitten. The Japanese love them and use them as a symbol of strength, courage and happiness -- I agree with that and will always enjoy watching them zoom around while I garden.