Made in the shade
I wasn't originally intending to feature dragons or even insects today, as I fancied a bit of a photographic change after yesterday's dragons in flight and my run of butterflies. But I stumbled upon a pair of common darters busy doing their bit to ensure the survival of their species this morning and I couldn't resist taking this shot.
I'd seen the lighter coloured female at the little pond and watched her settle on an iris leaf, when the darker redder male arrived and settled on his own iris leaf. I watched wondering what would happen next, when she suddenly took flight and the male spotted her.
He chased after her immediately and managed to both catch and subdue her within a very short time. It sounds brutal but that is how it works with dragonflies. Once he had her by the neck he was able to prepare to mate properly during which the dragons assume the position in the photo which is sometimes referred to as the wheel position although some people see it as a heart shape. As ever, there's much more detail if you want to look in large.
A few minutes later the pair, still linked and now flying together were ovipositing the eggs in the pond. So we should have some more common darters again next year, all being well.