Dragonfly emergence – a special moment captured at BirdLife outing to Walker Swamp

Dragonfly emergence – a special moment captured at BirdLife outing to Walker Swamp

Did you know that dragonflies spend their early life stages in water? Read on to find out more…

In late February, the BirdLife South East SA group arranged a day visit to Walker Swamp Restoration Reserve, Victoria to observe and record the birds seen and heard around the property. What a sight from the viewing tower – water, water everywhere, birdlife galore and the Grampians in the background.

The view from the Walker Swamp viewing tower in late February, 2021 (photo: Bryan Haywood)

A small group of attendees made it across the border (when we still had to register for permits) and were treated to a good variety of waterfowl. Species seen on the day included Pink-eared Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Australasian Shoveler, and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper; a few photos of these birds follow.

Australasian Grebe – Tachybaptus novaehollandiae (photo: Bryan Haywood)
Pink-eared Duck – Malacorhynchus membranaceus (photo: Bryan Haywood)
Australasian Shoveler – Spatula rhynchotis (photo: Bryan Haywood)
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper – Calidris acuminata (phoot: Bryan Haywood)

We set out to explore the property but, before we were able to find too many birds (as they were mostly hiding in the reeds and rushes), we stopped up the northern end of the wetland and were greeted with a mass emergence of dragonflies. This was a birding trip – our attention should not have been in looking down – yet at every step, we saw another and another pupae emerging for their exoskeleton. The insects had received a cue from the climate and quantity of daylight at this time of year, and had emerged from the wetland, climbed up the rushes at the edge of the wetland, and begun to transform into their adult form. The experience really added to our day and I’ve put together this short video showing the emergence – please enjoy!

Thanks to Ange and Helen for joining me on this outing.

Bryan Haywood