Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Living near a river and with a pond in the garden, there are a lot of dragonflies in the local area. Interestingly, the bright, colourful dragonflies that people are familiar with are the males. The species in this photograph is a female Common Darter and is quite a bland colour to look at. By contrast, the male is red and much prettier to look at. All the darter females tend to look quite bland and similar, which makes them hard to identify. I know that this is a Common Darter because I was saw it mating with a male of the species over my pond as seen here: 

They flew together like this for a while, but I didn’t get to see the ‘wheel’ they make. I’m not entirely sure what happened with them, but after flying like this for a wheel, they landed on a plant in the pond (well, the female did) and then broke apart, before landing near each other on the edge of the pond. I don’t know why they suddenly broke off like that, but I haven’t seen them come back.

There was also another pair in the same formation flying over the pond. I don’t think that they are Common Darters, but I cannot identify the species at all. The photo isn’t really clear enough to make a proper ID and I wasn’t wearing me glasses at the time (I’m short-sighted), so I didn’t get to see the detail on them. Here is a photo of them:

The behaviour of this pair was slightly different. They continued to fly together, with the male attached to the head of the female, but they constantly dived down towards the water and hit the surface. I’m not sure what the point of this was. If anyone can identify the species or explain what the behaviour was, please let me know!


About TomPh1991

Interested in wildlife and photography:
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