Saturday, July 14, 2012

Connections in the sky

kw: observations, nature, insects, birds

We just returned from a walk in a nearby schoolyard. It rained this morning, and the air is humid. When we walk there we sometimes see a few dragonflies zooming over the grass, catching small insects we usually don't see. This time, at one end, we saw dozens of dragonflies canvassing a small area of a couple of hundred square feet. As we made our rounds, we watched them. Then, we saw that there were many small flies, brown and a little larger than fruit flies. They were probably having a mating flight, triggered by the rain, and they were the prey of the dragonflies. At one point, my wife saw a dragonfly snag one of the little flies right in front of her.

On our last go-round, we looked up to see that there were actually a couple of hundred dragonflies filling the air, to a height of thirty or forty feet. In the top reaches of this insect abundance, three or four swifts were zooming back and forth, taking the occasional dragonfly. There we had it, three links of the food chain on display.

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