Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Moment under the sun

It's midsummer on Reifel Island, and in spite of the spotty, off-and-on, sort-of-summer weather we've been treated to this year, luxuriant vegetation lines the waterways. Head-high grasses, brilliant green leaves, juicy berries and little green apples, mounds and fields of flowers in glowing pink, yellow, white, and thistle-purple, drifting seed parachutes; a new glory appears at each turn of the pathway.

Along one of the inner trails, swarms of skinny bluets darted from thistle to grass to loosestrife, back to the grass to rest, briefly.

Bluets, about 1 1/2 inches long. Possibly Enallagma sp.

I couldn't get close enough to them to see clearly; in all the movement of grasses blowing in the wind, tree branches waving overhead, they somehow always noticed my cautious easing forward and darted away.

There were two colours. The males are patterned in crisp black and neon blue, females in neat brownish-black, glinting green when the light strikes them at just the right angle. I didn't see any mating couples; it's the season for love, but they would have been on the far side of the greenery, at the water's edge.

I had given up on seeing any bluets up close, and was turning to leave when I saw this:

A spider in the act of subduing a female bluet.

Zooming in. She is still moving, feebly, but her head is hanging down. I don't recognize the spider.

And in the grass behind them, the dance went on.

Update: Rebecca in the Woods has posted an amazing video of a spider wrapping up a big dragonfly. Go watch it!

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