It’s summer proper when damselflies make way for dragonflies at Wheatland Farm’s wildlife pond.
This broad bodied chaser is the first proper dragonfly to appear in 2020. It is patrolling a length of the wildlife pond below Balebarn Lodge. We’ve already seen large red , azure and blue tailed damselflies and a pretty demoiselle, but this is the first proper dragonfly. Actually, one flew up from the pond and disappeared beyond the trees on the 17th – it could even have been the same one as dragonflies often leave their open water emergence sites to mature elsewhere, before returning to mate at the ponds.
Broad bodied chasers like this male disperse well, and are often an early arrival at a newly dug pond. If you’ve had a lock down wildlife pond project they could be visiting you – depending where you are in the country. They are common in Devon, and we saw them last year too. They quite like early succession ponds, and although we had broad bodied chasers years ago, they disappeared for a while until we dug the new scrapes – so maybe that’s what brought them back.
Next we’ll be looking out for four spot chasers – it could be any day now with the lovely sunny weather Devon is enjoying. Last year four spot chasers were seen on 16 May, so they are due.
Dragon and damselfies need a network of wet areas and ponds across their landscape. We do our best for wildlife at Wheatland Farm’s eco lodges. Unfortunately, we can’t make the whole of Devon wildlife friendly. But that’s where you come in. Some of these creatures just need a stepping stone or two to make them more resilient. Garden ponds across the UK are so important. So if you like watching these beautiful creatures, think about adding a pond somewhere near you. It might only be a sunken bucket or an old baby bath, and it might not be enough on its own, but all together we can make a difference for wildlife.