Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

What is over mature?

According to my copy of Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Great Britain and Ireland (Brooks & Lewington)this black tailed skimmer photographed Thursday evening at Garn Lakes Local Nature Reserve is 'over mature'. Sure enough it clearly wasn't in its first flush of youth (note some wing wear) and the same oracle suggests its flight period to be over by the time the Green Man Festival pitches its first tent, so this one was skimming on borrowed time.

Wrestling with this term and like a pensioner who's misplaced his reading glasses I stumbled around during Friday night shopping looking for some everyday examples of over maturity along the well stocked aisles of Tesco's Abertillery. The dairy section was the most obvious place for 'over maturity' and this extra mature cheddar delivered as any self respecting dairy counter should. Breezing past the Tena pants and over 50's Wellbeing vitamins I resisted the temptation to draw any parallels between these products and my quest . Other than the cheese and wine there were surprising few other products that saw a market opportunity in decay, until I reached the famed reduced section. Here over maturity was a pre-requiste. Discounted sad and forlorn examples of battered fruit and veg and other assorted items close to their sell by date were left only to be periodically tended by shop care workers. An apple that was soft and bruised sat cheek by jowl with pre-packaged rocket salad that was wet and flat and a bunch of petal shedding tulips were propped up in a black bucket marked, flower zimmer. So there you have it if this black tailed skimmer was to be found on a supermarket shelf it would surely be past its best before date and marked down for a quick sale- that's over mature!


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