A dance with dragons

Gemma Butlin

Wednesday 7 June 2017

In what must be one of our most beautiful wildlife spectacles, the shimmering wings of thousands of dragonflies sparkle in the golden morning light at RSPB Ham Wall nature reserve after they've settled there for the night.

These are four-spotted chasers which are medium-sized dragonflies, around 4-5cm long. Their broad, golden-brown bodies taper and darken towards the tip of the tail, and they get their name from the two spots on each of their four wings.

They're a common dragonfly, and you can see them on the wing between May and late summer.

At Ham Wall there's a large number of them every year, and they usually emerge at the end of May and beginning of June. In the early morning thousands of them roost on the reed stems, making an impressive spectacle.

Steve Hughes, RSPB Ham Wall Site Manager says: "As the sunshine catches the wings of these beautiful dragonflies at the still of dawn, it is a really magical sight. Our reedbed at RSPB Ham Wall is the perfect home for them but you can give dragonflies a home in your own gardens too."

For more information about how to attract dragonflies and other wildlife to your own outside space visit www.rspb.org.uk/homes

Ham Wall NNR is a nationally important wetland site restored by the RSPB since the 1990s from previous peat workings.

For more information on visiting Ham Wall go to www.rspb.org.uk/hamwall

Tagged with: Country: England Country: UK Topic: Birds and wildlife