E.J.Wilkins

25 Aug 2010 454 views
 
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photoblog image Balancing

Balancing

Male Broad Bodied Chaser.

He was trying to balance on fishing line strung across our pond.

 

The line, stretched about a foot above the surface of the water, is meant to deter herons by acting as a visual puzzle and a 'fence'. Apparently herons prefer to walk into ponds, especially if there are tall hedges, trees or shrubs nearby. They need to lift their feet to move forwards and also stoop/bend their neck forwards to catch fish.

 

The general idea of using fishing line is that they can't see it from a distance so can't plan ahead. Once (if) they land then the line's meant to make it difficult, or for it to take too long, for them to catch our fish - and persuade them to go somewhere else for their breakfast or evening meal. As you can see it isn't tightly stretched, so if they do push against it it'll 'give'. So far it seems to be effective, but last year we lost our fish after the lily leaves had died back so we'll have to wait and see.

 

The line doesn't seem to faze the bats that visit the garden most evenings, and it doesn't stop smaller birds (even crows) using the pond as a bath - they walk underneath it.


The dragonfly eventually gave up trying to balance on the too-smooth line and decided to rest on the top of one of the canes it's tied to. Watching him made me realise how very good insects' eyesight is, and how huge fishing line must be when you're only a few inches long.

.

Balancing

Male Broad Bodied Chaser.

He was trying to balance on fishing line strung across our pond.

 

The line, stretched about a foot above the surface of the water, is meant to deter herons by acting as a visual puzzle and a 'fence'. Apparently herons prefer to walk into ponds, especially if there are tall hedges, trees or shrubs nearby. They need to lift their feet to move forwards and also stoop/bend their neck forwards to catch fish.

 

The general idea of using fishing line is that they can't see it from a distance so can't plan ahead. Once (if) they land then the line's meant to make it difficult, or for it to take too long, for them to catch our fish - and persuade them to go somewhere else for their breakfast or evening meal. As you can see it isn't tightly stretched, so if they do push against it it'll 'give'. So far it seems to be effective, but last year we lost our fish after the lily leaves had died back so we'll have to wait and see.

 

The line doesn't seem to faze the bats that visit the garden most evenings, and it doesn't stop smaller birds (even crows) using the pond as a bath - they walk underneath it.


The dragonfly eventually gave up trying to balance on the too-smooth line and decided to rest on the top of one of the canes it's tied to. Watching him made me realise how very good insects' eyesight is, and how huge fishing line must be when you're only a few inches long.

.

comments (24)

  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 25 Aug 2010, 06:41
You are not interpreting very well. This dragonfly is trying to haul the line in. There must be a fish on the other side. Tricky business hovering and hauling.
EJWilkins: Darn it Louis, I never thought of that!
  • Ginnie
  • Netherlands
  • 25 Aug 2010, 07:12
LOL at Louis. It IS quite awesome to see this from an insect's POV, Ellie. Look how he seems to be holding on for dear life.
EJWilkins: Although he was trying desperately to stay still he didn't manage to get his balance. For us I suppose it'd be a bit like a 'slippery pole' competition at a fair ground?
  • Chris
  • England
  • 25 Aug 2010, 07:18
Crikey Ellie - I've never seen a dragon fly photographed from such a fascinating angle. You have captured his predicament to perfection!
EJWilkins: No, I haven't seen anything like it before either, but then I wouldn't have, because the fishing line was a new thing. Pure luck I managed to see it, and even luckier I had the camera handy.
Interesting info to go with this delightfully unusual shotsmile
EJWilkins: It is unusual, and a bit intriguing too. At least that's what I thought!
Well captured, Ellie. (:o)
EJWilkins: Thanks Ros
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 25 Aug 2010, 09:01
Never I saw such a beautiful close up photo of a dragon fly- the wonders of nature you captured wonderfully - and I like your detailed description and interpretaion, too! Fine that you are back!
EJWilkins: Thanks Philine, for both the welcome back and positive comment about the picture. Nature is always full of surprises, isn't it.
  • zed
  • Australia
  • 25 Aug 2010, 09:15
great photo, better blog...thanks ellie
EJWilkins: Cor, wow, thanks.
One of my greatest enjoyments are the herons in my pond but when cormorants come in they can clean it out of fish in a week.
EJWilkins: It sounds as if your pond is about a zillion times larger than ours Mary. A heron can clean out our fish in one go, there are only ten of them!
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 25 Aug 2010, 12:48
Very informative, Ellie. If we scale it up to our proportions, it's probably the equivalent of a 6in diameter pole!

Let's hope that the fish survive after your efforts.
EJWilkins: I'm hoping they do survive this time Alan, time will tell. The dragonfly/line ration makes me think of the slippery pole competitions. I'm sure you know what I mean
Great shot!! What a place for such a large dragonfly to land!
EJWilkins: It looks as if they'll try everything possible to get a good vantage point, they're very territorial creatures.
  • Tracy
  • Hulme
  • 25 Aug 2010, 13:39
Look at the motion in those wings, and what a great tightrope walker he is..smile
EJWilkins: Absolutely! If I tried walking across something of similar proportional size I'd fall off too!
I didn't realise you were back Ellie..Nice to see you.
This is good Ellie..They dont hang around for long..so well done.
EJWilkins: No, he was only trying to balance for a minute or so before flying off. Pure luck - for me. Right place, right time.
Only just 'got back' now I've got to find the time to beonline
Brilliant capture Ellie, and good commentary. Hope you keep the fish even when the lily leaves have gone.
EJWilkins: If the heron(s) do get through the defences I hope they'll leave more fish than last year, only one survived through into spring. The irritating thing was that I watched the heron taking them, a mixture of "Wow, there's a heron in the garden!" and "that darned bird is eating our fish!"
Very well captured, how well they balance. Our fish have been disappearing, we think its a heron but never seen it, so I am going to give this a try and see if I can save them smile
EJWilkins: They tend to go into gardens close to dawn and dusk, they seem to know there are less likely to be people about to disturb them. You could try a net, but I've seen a heron standing on one! Also seen one trying to make friends with a statue, so they don't work either. If you try fishing line it needs to be about a foot above the water. We've got five canes, line strung round the outside and just one piece crossing the middle of the pond, which is 5m x 3m.
He's holding on for dear life. This is a rare shot, wonderfully and timely captured, Ellie.
EJWilkins: IT almost does look as his life depends on hanging on.
I'm always envious of people who manage to get Dragonfly shots, I've never managed it up to now.
EJWilkins: These big dragonflies are territorial and tend to have a perch somewhere or other, where they rest between flights and fights with interlopers. With a big pond it's often hard to work out where it is, but in a garden it can be easier to find. Then it's a case of making sure your shadow never crosses the insect, they react very quickly if that happens. Keep trying, you'll get there one day. smile
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 25 Aug 2010, 15:39
Nice story, Ellie, and I like the movement in the wings to go with it.
EJWilkins: THe wings, I think, indicate how hard he was working to stay still
excellent macro shot
EJWilkins: Thanks Derek smile
Thos wings are so delicate Ellie.
EJWilkins: They most certainly are.
Great capture - I know how difficult it is to get these things to stay still! I got this one in the US - http://tomwilson.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Dragonfly_/
EJWilkins: They often seem to be sitting still, but aren't!

That's a lovely picture, a very unusual colour for a dragonfly. Any idea of the species?
cool catch and context!!
EJWilkins: Thanks Rob smile
great shot, Ellie, I love the wings.wink
Très joli macro!!

Amitiés de France:CLAIRE
  • Peter
  • Canada
  • 4 Sep 2010, 01:50
Excellent capture Ellie....the gossamer wings of the dragon fly makes it even more special...great DOF, even the fishing line is hard to capture on a camera....good job ......petersmile
EJWilkins: Hmm, interesting thought, now you mention it I can't imagine managing to get fishing line in focus all on its' own, tis' almost too small to see clearly from more than a few feet!

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