First dragonfly of the year and a light lunch for a robin…

Sadly today was spent in the office doing the interminable paper work and administration of running a busy education centre following a busy week of school and other group bookings…

Knowing the ordeal ahead I thought I’d treat myself by running the light trap last night (having run it the last couple of nights in order to have invertebrates to discuss as part of the visiting schools activities).

The last couple of days the catch has been reasonable with extra packing out of the trap with egg boxes seemingly deterring the local robin from entering the trap in the morning and consuming everything. Yesterday in particular was quite good with may bugs (or cockchafers) dominating and eliciting a varied response in the children (and adult’s!).

Unfortunately when I broke for lunch today and went through the trap there was little to be found: no cockchafers, just a lonely flame shoulder and equally lonely lesser swallow prominent…

Lesser swallow prominent

Lesser swallow prominent

Flame shoulder

Flame shoulder

On the plus side there did not seem to have been any predation within the trap, so we’ll put the poor haul down to a bad mothing night…

The robin of course, as soon as he saw the trap, was there instantly, hoping that I’d turn my back so he could nip in quick and nab something, or, alternately that I would disturb something which would then take to the air which he could take. On this occasion however he was out of luck and he gave up in disgust!

He did not go without entirely however…

I had a late-ish lunch and the sky had clouded over somewhat. However while finishing off the sun did break through and bring with it a real blast of warmth that saw damselflies emerge from the undergrowth – and then, great excitement, I saw my first dragonfly of the year, a downy emerald, take off from the rush and reeds on the very edge of the pond, with its milky, “teneral” wings, possibly even on its maiden flight… it flew up really quite quickly heading directly towards the apparent safety of the canopy of the adjacent oak tree…

Unfortunately the robin was also  watching.

It flew in, missed and I thought the dragonfly had made it! Then the robin did a quick about turn flew up into the branches – and then dropped to the ground, struggling insect in its beak, where the wings were rapidly trimmed off and the rest of the dragonfly swallowed in an instant, leaving nothing to show for the drama and action except these wings:

Remnants of a downy emerald dragonfly...

Remnants of a downy emerald dragonfly…

…and I went back in to continue with the paper work…

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