Happy Midsummer!

dragonfly, damselfly, beautiful demoiselle, banded demoiselle, river, hannah foley, illustrator, illustration, children books, children book art, picture books, picture book art, non-fiction, natural history, wildlife, children, kids, family, education, biology, insectsHappy Midsummer! This weekend was fittingly glorious. We hid fairy doors in the garden for the children and their friends to find, and discover little Midsummer gifts left for them behind the doors by the ‘fairies’. The river is bursting with life. Two lots of cygnets have successfully hatched and are already getting leggy. The parents sensibly remain wary. A fox crisscrossed my path several times this morning, too intent on his business to be nervous of the likes of me. There’s plenty to keep him busy. Baby rabbits lollop around on the banks, and I practically had to run a wood pigeon over before it would move.

Pottering around by a cool river on Dartmoor at the weekend there were a tremendous number of damselflies. Looking them up, they were mostly male (metallic blue) and female (metallic greeny-gold) Beautiful Demoiselles (a type of damselfly). Imagine having ‘beautiful’ as part of your actual name! There were so many they were landing on our arms and legs. One even had a rest on Finch’s head! There’s something truly wonderful about a wild creature using you as a resting post isn’t there? Apparently, one way to tell damselflies from dragonflies is that damselflies rest with their wings shut whereas dragonflies rest with their wings open. There are only two species of demoiselles in the UK and funnily enough we have seen them both this week: the Beautiful Demoiselles on Dartmoor and then a male Banded Demoiselle popped in to our garden the other day. The Banded Demoiselle is metallic blue like the Beautiful Demoiselle, but has a black band on its wings. It was a wonderful sight to see, a blue flash streaking across the lawn; more of a Midsummer fairy than anything we could conjure up. I can’t imagine what it was doing in such an urban spot though. The river near us is not exactly their preferred habitat. I hope it made it wherever it was trying to get to.

One of the male Beautiful Demoiselles



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2 Responses to Happy Midsummer!

  1. Evy Browning says:

    I didn’t know any of that – how fascinating & to think these creatures are here nearby, I too hope the demoiselle made it wherever it was heading. Next year I’ll hopefully have nectar bearing plants for the winged creatures of various ilk. Second brood of sparrows has flown & I’m waiting to see if there will be a third – I suspect not.

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