Hunt For A Dragon... Heading into Glen Affric only one creature was on my mind (Although I expected to see many). One of Scotland's rarest dragonflies, if not the rarest, the Downy Emerald. Only present in 3 locations across Scotland.

Crossbills fed on pine cones in the canopy

Glen Affric and its remnant Caledonian pine forest is a hot spot for fauna and flora of all kinds.

Crossbills fed in the canopy above as I brushed by beautiful wintergreens scattered on the forest floor on my way to Coire Loch.

It was a cool day and I wondered if the dragonflies would be airborne, otherwise they may prove difficult to find. Down by the loch edge I stepped over frogs and caterpillars as I scanned the water for movement.

Then out of nowhere a big winged insect appeared hovering before me, seeming to question my presence.

The Downy Emerald was stunning! Vibrant green eyes and a bronze coloured abdomen, showed that this was an adult. I had come across the territory of a male and watched as he shot around, patrolling a small boggy bay in the loch.

Male Downy Emerald

When an intruder entered the bay, there was a clash of bodies and the sound of big strong wings hitting vegetation was audible above all the other sounds in the forest. The male I had been watching drove the intruder into the heather and left him there, stunned. The victor returned to his bay while the intruder headed to the safety of the tree canopy.

Female Downy Emerald

Away from the waters edge a female Downy Emerald was perched, I watched as she warmed up her flight muscles before flying down to the small boggy bay, where she met with the male. The pair joined and flew to the tree tops in tandem for more privacy, where they would spend at least 90 minutes mating.

As I turned to leave the loch I encountered a 35cm long Slow Worm, a beautiful legless lizard on the hunt amongst the sphagnum moss.

What a day it had been in the presence of dragons.

#Dragonfly #Highlands #CaledonianPineForest

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