Monday, 15 October 2007

It's oh so quiet...

Yesterday we went down to the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes. This is one of my favourite places to spend a day - apart from the joy of birdwatching and the gorgeous houses on Castlenau, I love the fact that such natural (well, man-made "nature") tranquility can exist within central London.

All the frantic breeding activity of spring having been done with, the birds seemed to have settled down quietly for autumn, concentrating on putting on that bit more fat before winter. Everywhere was calm, with swans gliding effortlessly...

...and shovelers scratching.

My main aim of the day was to try out my two new attachments for my camera (a Sony DSC-H2 by the way). I bought a teleconverter and a macro lens at the start of September, but they didn't arrive in time for our Tobago holiday so I'd not had a go with them yet. I was quite pleased with the results generally. Here is a dragonfly very close:

And another one very far away:

Respectively a ruddy darter and a common hawker.

On our way out, the peace of the gradual slowing down of the seasons was shattered when a great big, flappy, prehistoric thing nearly crashed into my face. It was two common hawkers, shagging on the wing, making out like it was spring again. Guys, I know you're having fun, and it must be hard to steer when you're latched together for your nuptial flight, but could you keep at least one compound eye on where you're going next time please? They scooted off and settled on a twig fence to carry on bonking for quite some time whilst the boyfriend and I took photos like a pair of professional Amsterdam skin-flick auteurs. So here is some dragonfly porn for your delight:

It's called a "mating heart" as that's what the male's grip on the female looks like from the side (in case you can't make it out, he is the one at the top of the photo, he has her by the neck with the end of his tail and she brings her abdomen up and under to meet his body). Isn't that romantic for an October afternoon?

No comments: