To the Editor:
Yet again, a fascinating column in the Kane County Chronicle: “Good Natured: The green darner and its predatory skills.”
Saturday morning I read Pam Otto's latest column. I always find them interesting, ‘cause I was one of those guys who, when still quite young, drove his parents, and especially Mom, crazy with all the critters I brought home from a field with the hope of keeping them, at least for a while. I’ll never forget the time I kept a frog all winter, and what with the lack of bugs for food, I fed it bologna (no kidding!), but I’ll save that story for another day. I will say this, though: When spring returned, I released that frog back into the wild.
This latest column was about dragonflies, a critter I used to dislike. Their young feasted on tadpoles, and that made them my mortal enemy once upon a time, but I digress.
I’m writing this letter just to tell Pam of something I observed last year that I found fascinating. I know it happens all the time, but I never noticed it like this before: Walking out of my garage, looking west, with the sun lowering in the evening sky, and at just the perfect angle, I could see a steady stream of small insects (moths?) slowly rising straight up out of my lawn, their gossamer wings glowing in the waning sunlight and making them easy to see.
Unfortunately for them, there were other larger gossamer wings glowing in the same manner at an altitude of, well, maybe six feet – a dozen or more dragonflies hovering and/or darting back and forth just above them.
As each little bug rose into the air – BINGO! – a dragonfly would zip over or down and nab it.
I always knew these larger insects ate the smaller ones, but – until that day, under those very specific conditions – I’d never actually seen them doing it, what with their speed and maneuverability, and especially due to the small size of their prey. In this instance, however, the setting sun “lit up the battle field,” so to speak, and made the scene observable.
So, keep your eyes open, folks. You never know what sort of show Ma Nature is going to provide, even when you’re just stepping out of the garage.