Country Corner

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A grasshopper living life on the edge,gets dangerously close to a predatory dragonfly.

Just how often grasshoppers feature as dragonfly prey, I have no idea. Common Darter dragonflies are often seen catching flies in flight.

Multi-coloured damselflies are a favourite prey. This dragonfly is a female – males are brick red in colour. I recall once watching a male Common Darter chomp its way through a Red Damselfly, a colourful if gory spectacle!

Records of scarce dragonfly species in the Lothians are up. This is due in part to the general trend of northwards spread in the range of many insect and bird species.

It is also due to some birdwatchers, bored of the summer quiet spell in birdwatching, turning their attention to butterflies and dragonflies at that season. Butterflies, birds and dragonflies, to name but a few, have always included many species found in England and Wales, but not in Scotand. Whether the causes are natural or not,we are recording new species in the Lothians every year now.

If there was ever a good time to get into dragonfly study, it is now. A pair of sharp eyes and a good insect book is enough to get you started. You could later add binoculars and camera.

A very simple way of identifying dragonflies or anything else in nature is to upload a photograph to the iSpot website.

Go on, get out and get involved – wildlife is far more interesting in the wild!

More Country Corner in this week’s paper