Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bridge of Sorrows

Some Sewanee folks call it the Metal Bridge; others, The Trestle Bridge.

Today, however, I officially designated it the Bridge of Sorrows.

In all the years I have been observing and photographing odonates, this bridge hosts Common Baskettail disaster after disaster, year after year.

Unfortunately, it's the Baskettails' favorite spot at Lake Cheston to emerge, perhaps because they can climb quite high right out of the water. I write unfortunately because it's also a favorite spot for industrious spiders who unreel their silk. Fortunately for the spiders, strong wind often pushes insects into their lairs, and unfortunately, emerging Baskettails frequently make their final molts into that silk. 

Just today, I counted five emerging Baskettails, but only two will fly and, thus, survive. Of the others, two had misshapen, crimped, and silk-stuck wings; one was already wrapped up in a spider's package.

It's hard to walk that bridge in spring every year, but walk it I must. Sometimes, I am lucky enough to pass by just in time to save a dragonfly.

But not today.

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