Rescuing an Empress

Any regular readers of this will know that I’ve been monitoring dragonflies and damselflies on this site for many years. It used to be an absolute haven for odonata. Following the admittance of a Koi Carp farmer many years ago, the populations crashed. Last year we saw very few. Though the fish farmer is no more, the populations don’t appear to be recovering, probably because the lake is still full of huge Grass Carp and still some Koi.

We made a circumperambulation of the lake seeing almost nothing; even less than last year. So, having almost completed the circle, I was very surprised to see an inundated Emperor dragonfly struggling on the surface of the water. I know I shouldn’t interfere but I couldn’t stand by and watch this beautiful creature drown. I extended my monopod and offered it a lifeline. It naturally grabbed it enthusiastically.

It was a female Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope). I picked her off my monopod onto my hand. She stayed and repeatedly cleaned her eyes with her forelegs.

20240615_160935_022651She remained on my hand, drying off and, perhaps, warming up from my body heat after her chilling experience. She had lost most of her left fore-wing but eventually she exercised her remaining wings and then flew off, less strongly than one might expect but at least she could fly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALater in the afternoon we were visited by a small critter, about 6mm long, than seemed keen on our black camping table. I broke out the small camera and macro lens to try to capture it, though being dark against black, it felt tricky. All was well though. It’s a Plant Hopper that seems to think it’s a Table Hopper (Issus coleoptratus). Very cute.

Posted in 2024 Summer