It has felt like the last vestiges of summer have been trying their hardest to cling on and keep autumn at bay last week.  What beautiful weather we had!  All summer I have been concerned that the temperature was just too cold for our dragonflies to emerge but in the past 2 weeks thanks to the good weather we have seen a burst of activity from these incredibly beautiful creatures. Thankfully the larvae stage can remain in the water for a number of years, waiting for the perfect conditions in which to hatch, if you ever go out looking for them and you are lucky you might even find an exuvia, the empty larvae case of newly emerged dragonfly.

The exuvia (empty casing) of a 4 spotted chaser dragonfly

Dragonflies have been on this planet for approximately 325 million years, fossils have been found of dragonflies with wing spans of 30 inches; today’s dragonflies have wings of 3-4 inches quite a difference.  They are characterised by large multifaceted eyes (nearly 24,000 facets!) an elongated body comprised of a thorax which holds the two pairs of very strong wings and the abdomen which contains the reproductive organs.  They can reach speeds of 30mph, have the ability to fly backwards and are voracious predators of other smaller flying insects.

The beautiful 4 spotted chaser

Visits to Ravenswood Local Nature Reserve and St Maurices were rewarded with an abundance of common darters (pictured), black darters and my favourite common hawkers buzzing and dancing around me. If you ever fancy getting photographs go out on a nice sunny day, and just sit and enjoy their dance. Once they are accustomed to your presence they will let you get quite close but only if you move slowly! You can see the range of species we have in Cumbernauld on our Facebook photo pages.

Sunbathing on ragwort


Cumbernauld LL