The banks of the Severn at Fretherne remind us that Gloucestershire is a coastal county. The tide was way out mid afternoon, exposing vast areas of estuarine mud with deep gullies.
There is a narrow band of saltmarsh where the Sea Aster is in full bloom, and busy with insects. The main Sea Aster here is the variety that is largely lacking the long mauve strap petals, so it always looks a bit tatty.
I spent a good half hour watching a Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) dragonfly egg-laying on polystyrene on the strandline at the top of the saltmarsh – very high and dry. She had a few tentative stabs at some old flat reed stems as well, but quickly abandoned them to return to the polystyrene. I could really see her digging in the ovipositor (the prong visible in the photo under the end of the “tail”), and she didn’t fly (or co-operate) when I gently tried to shift her with a finger into a better pose.
Migrant Hawkers often lay above the waterline, apparently anticipating rising water levels in the winter, as their larvae are aquatic. This one was using debris thrown up, I guess, on a very high bore, and unlikely to become submerged.
There were also several Common Darters (Sympetrum striolatum). This photo is of an old female.
Thanks to Ingrid Twissell, the county dragonfly recorder, for checking and commenting on the dragonfly photos.