Having checked the pond again yesterday morning, I could see a female Hairy Dragonfly nymph already quite a way out of the water taking in air and hoped if the conditions were good, that she might emerge during the evening. After a day or thinking if this was going to happen, I went out again just before dark and could see she had moved up the reed and looked likely to emerge. The colours on this nymph were quite superb and looked like she was going to burst. After preparing the flask and snacks, I went and got set up early and settled in to a comfortable position. One of the signs that they are going to emerge is once they have chosen a favorable perch to emerge on, they often violently move their abdomen around to see if there is enough clearance for the dragonfly to expand its wings and abdomen. This can be a worrying time as they can often fall back into the water and if not quickly attached again to something, run the risk of drowning. With the lovely colours on this female showing through, this gave me a chance to capture this movement of the abdomen and after a while, she became settled and prepared to emerge. This waiting game can either be quite quick or quite a while but eventually she started to emerge and I was able to capture the emergence at every stage again. Every emergence is different and you just hope that the exuviae is connected well enough not to fall off as this would be fatal. After spending a couple of hours outside and the female Hairy Dragonfly nymph successfully emerged and with the wings pumped up, I made my retreat indoors and hoped she would still be there early morning for a few more shots. I was again up early and straight outside with the camera where she was beautifully coloured up next to the exuviae. I took a few more shots before potting her up and driving to the site I caught the nymph where I released her next to the waters edge. Later this morning I went out with the family and on return around midday, had a quick look at the pond and was surprised to see another female Hairy Dragonfly had emerged and also 1 Variable Damselfly. After some lunch, I potted them up and again made the short drive where they were released successfully. I think the other two Hairy Dragonfly nymphs in the pond are both males and I would like to photograph the whole emergence of the male as I missed my chance last year. They are both in the shallows waiting so hopefully the next couple of nights will deliver this challenge for me.
Emerging Hairy Dragonfly (female)
Hairy Dragonfly (female) with Exuviae