As a follow up to my recent post providing views of some of the wildlife at Thursley Common I thought I would share another unexpected find .... but if you are a bit squeamish just take care as you scroll downwards!
During the summer months Thursley Common, with its dearth of dragonflies and damselflies (I believe a total of 26 different species have been recorded here), is an excellent place to watch a Hobby (Falco subbuteo) chasing, catching and feeding on dragonflies. The best conditions are on a calm, warm day but so far this year there have been very few of those! This medium sized, elegant falcon has the ability to catch birds in flight, including Swallows and even Swifts using its supreme velocity when chasing and stooping on its prey.
On my recent visit, with the very cool, overcast conditions I was struggling to find many invertebrates and certainly didn't expect to see a Hobby but while searching the waterside vegetation I heard something drop out of the sky and fall close to where I was standing on the boardwalk. After a brief search I spotted a fluttering movement of wings and to my utmost surprise I located this individual .........
A Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) clinging onto a stem BUT clearly missing all its abdominal segments. I attempted to reach out and pick it up for closer inspection but again to my surprise it fluttered its wings and moved to another perch which did then enable me to get a much closer image of the damage .... probably caused by an incomplete attack by its fearsome predator, the Hobby or possibly as a result of an accident during copulation (which occurs in flight and only takes from 5 - 20 seconds) .... I will never know for sure.
Searching the sky above the bog I eventually located two Hobby's in fairly relaxed flight fairly high up so on this occasion I can only offer this heavily cropped image (see below).
I can't wait for a series of warm, calm days when I might just get the opportunity to watch and photograph this species at much closer quarters ..... well I always live in hope! FAB.