Firstly, let me once again, apologise profusely for the first two photos (taken by me) on this post. The creature in question was VERY fidgety and the very bright sunshine and dark shadows didn't help me on my artistic quest! We will have to return and do it properly!
On our Penn Wood walk yesterday we chanced across one of these absolutely stunning insects patrolling a 'permanent puddle' in a riding, in the middle of the wood. This (christ the photos are bad - skip to the last one if you want to see what these things actually look like!), is a male (blue abdomen) "Broad-Bodied Chaser" Dragonfly! I've ALWAYS wanted to see one of these - they've got fat, 'squashed flat' bodies like a thumb! This was a great view - we even watched it look as though it was 'panting' with exertion - its fat body throbbing in the strong sun.
Our Dragonfly was a male - a blue abdomen witha small black tip. The females have a dull olive-brown abdomen, but each sex has 4 yellow spots on each side of their abdomen (unclear, I know from my photos - but THATS how I identified them), and a dark spot on each wing.
We were really chuffed to have been lucky enough to see one of these - most unexpected, even if I knew there were permanent puddles and the odd pond in Penn Wood.
The Broad-Bodied Chaser would complete a few laps of its territory (the large puddle in the riding) and then find a sunny spot in the Rhodadendrons to rest, and have a dump - which it did right in front of me, twice! It was all quite 'prehistoric' in a way - absolutely magical!
We WILL go back to Penn Wood. For a night maybe? Soon?! Who knows....