One of the many dragonflies, which spend so much time dancing and darting around my garden pond, flew into the middle of a water fight this morning. Unharmed it sat on the stalk of a plant drying off for long enough for me to grab my camera and get some pictures:
Below the surface of the water the pond is teeming with life including dragonfly in the nymph phase of their life cycle, which I understand can take up to 4 years to complete. Occasionally one of the larger nymphs will scurry into view, as it moves between leaf cover on the bottom of the pond, look for all the world life an extra from an alien movie. If you look carefully at the leaves and stalks of the plants that reach up above the surface of the water you can see the husks of these alien creatures, left behind after the dragonfly has emerged:
I’m not the only one for enjoys the dragonfly. Leicester the cat gets regard exercise chasing them around the garden.
Very occasionally he actually catches one and will then happily sit in front of me crunching away:
The pond is an enjoyable place to sit but its bigger value is to the local wildlife and we have a healthy population of frogs and toads in the garden. These wonderful amphibians are excellent at helping to keep the slug population under control. The pond also helps to attract an increased range of birds and mammals to the garden.
I’ve posted some additional pic’s of the dragonfly, other visitors and pond here
An article today in the Austrian Times highlights concerns in Austria about a new Hungarian law limiting the number of cargo barge using the river Danube. It seems that the Hungarians are arguing the law is needed for environmental reason but the counter claim is that they need to put more focus on infrastructure measures and water level management.
A policy that pushes ore and coal traffic off the waterways onto road and rail is in itself environmentally damaging, so this would seem on first viewing to be an example of needing to look at the wider picture. The EU has agreements in place that are meant to increase the days of navigation on the Danube which this law aim to help achieve, but it goes against the EU target of increasing barge traffic by 20%.
The protection of the environment, shared resources and free flow of commerce are all arguments for countries to work together and pool sovereignty within the EU, for their own and the greater good. Based on his story it would appear that we are yet again failing to seeing those benefits materialising.
Getting this co-operation right is likely to become even more important as the Alpine glaciers continue to shrink. The major source of water for central Europe their decline is certain to have environmental and economic impacts that will only be successfully address through Europe wide strategies – the alternative is increasing tension between countries and the loss of environment, resources and wealth.
On a lighter note, this report is a good excuse for me to put on the blog these pictures of a coal barge travelling through the Vienna stretch of the Danube.