With the warm weather and a physical job sometimes the best policy is a (very) early start. This morning it was strimming and mowing, aided by my glamorous assistant/volunteer/husband before 7.00. As well as being more pleasant working when it is cooler, it also enables picnickers to avoid having grass in their quiche and no petrol fumes and engine noises hen they have come to enjoy a peaceful day by the river.
The local Odonata however did get disturbed. They were sunning themselves in their scores this morning for another hard day of fending off interloping males and attempting to attract females. Until we upset their day.
To ensure the vegetation doesn’t get too tall and there is an elongated flowering season for the wildlife I strim down some of the taller plants. Sometimes I take them to the ground to create a visual gap and sometime I just decapitate them slightly to make them flower a little later. These tall waterside plants however are much favoured resting places for the local dragonflies and particularly damselflies and strimming is a little disruptive to say the least. The banded demoiselles are particularly plentiful this year, as ever, but wouldn’t pose for a photo.
The males have been fighting and patrolling their chosen bits of riverbank that are particularly attractive to females for egg laying. For this the view from the prime, tall stems is vital. Unfortunately after my endeavours the plant landscape is somewhat changed and I might well have put a few damselfly noses out of joint. Metaphorically speaking, I’m not sure any of their facial features qualify as noses exactly. Some of those who had only managed to hold on to the lower stalked territories by default, were accidentally promoted to kings of the riverside castle. I like to think that some of the less aggressive males had the chance to reproduce when they might not otherwise have (there are always for more banded males than females). What is more likely however is that the poor downtrodden individuals got a pasting all over again and still didn’t get the girl. I’m trying not to think about the problems I inadvertently caused in the line of duty. That said the lockside does look lovely, from a human point of view.