First visit on Saturday to Little Bradley Ponds near Bovey Tracey. Apparently its ‘dragonfly heaven’.
The morning sun had already been obscured by thick wodges of cloud by the time we got there (around 11) We sit on the spongy rim of the pond munching our hogs pud sarnies staring out at the gentle pitter patter of rain on the lily pads. No dragonflies today.
Today the forecast is better, so we shoot up there again; plonk ourselves down on the rim of the pond again with hogs pud and bacon sarnies, flask of coffee, flapjacks, hoola hoops. And wait.
Here they come, flashing around everywhere: dancing red darters ovipositing; and chasing emperors (or southern hawkers, we still aren’t sure which) hunting. The thrill that wasn’t here yesterday is back again as the hawkers whizz around our heads so fast. Its almost impossible to get the camera on them.
Big clots of clouds keep blotting out the sun. The sun-sense in the dragonflies is so acute they immediately stop flying; it’s like they need the sun’s light for their eyes and the sun’s warm in their wings to come alive.
It’s peaceful here though. No walkers hording around. No dogs. No kids screeching. We’ve got this dragonfly pond all to ourselves. It’s ours. We’ve claimed it for the day.
This pond has got a little island centering it, and lily pads polka dotting the surface. It’s surrounded and sheltered by trees. On a hot sunny summer day this pond would indeed be dragonfly heaven.
And it’s not been too bad today either. I’m getting enough glimpses of these greeny blue whizzers to make this vid.
By 4 o’clock we’ve packed up and gone – whizzing back to Torquay in a trice. Feeling like we’ve got what we went for: a lovely dragonfly afternoon of peace and tranquility. Another ‘gold medal moment’.
A place to return to. Next spring perhaps. With a tent.
Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet