One sunny afternoon we were sat by our garden pond and were fascinated to watch a pair of common darter dragonflies (Sympetrum striolatum). The female was dabbing her tail into the water weed at intervals of about one second laying an egg with each dip and as she did this the male sat nearby on the stones watching the proceedings and every now and again he would take off, do a quick patrol to ensure there were no rivals about before returning to the same stone.
The common darter is not only the most common of the darter species here in Dorset, it probably the most common species of dragonfly. You can see it from June right through until October, perhaps even November if it stays mild. It is quite tolerant and will frequent any form of fresh water including ponds, lakes and ditches and even slow moving rivers and streams.
The male is orange-brown but also often occurs in a darker red form and so can be easily confused with the much less common ruddy darter. The females are predominantly yellow and so can be easily confused with female black darters.