I was on a mission today, to film some snakes (or at least some lizards) in Wareham Forest.
Needless to say I didn't find a single reptile, but there were loads of dragonflies about so I filmed them instead.
The first one I found was this male keeled skimmer.
This is a dragonfly only found in boggy, acid areas such as heaths or gravel pits.
This film shows its breathing movements really well.
The blue abdomen can be seen to continually pump air through tiny holes called spiracles which lead to tubes (tracheoles) which connect directly to the insect's muscles.
So no need for lungs. Or blood.
This is another keeled skimmer, this time a female.
Oddly the males always seem to rest in a horizontal position and the females in a vertical position.
I've put these up on iSpot as the females can be tricky to separate from other dragonflies.
The iSpot page for these two is at http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/292590.
The beautiful bright red dragonfly in the next sequence is a common darter, one of the commonest dragonflies in the UK, especially in late summer.
The female common darter is very like a female keeled skimmer, only smaller and slimmer.
Here's a very short sequence of it in flight, slowed down 8 times and at low resolution.
The final species is my favourite, the black darter.
Here is a male settled on a very pale log, which sets off his black pattern really well.
One of the reasons I like these so much is that they spend most of their time sat still, so I can photograph them.
The black darter is closely related to the common darter but is only found on heathland.
Finally here we have the male black darter again, seemingly surprised that a little beetle should dare to disturb his rest!