On a recent trip to Rodley Nature Reserve the Dragonflies really caught our eye. In particular this recently emerged adult, its larval case (exuvia) can be seen to the right of the adult. At this stage its pretty vulnerable until its dried out & ready to fly, so fingers crossed... Is it perhaps a Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)?
We found 3 or 4 larval cases dotted around vegetation on the margin of the ponds, they're incredible aren't they.
Females lay eggs in the water, they hatch after 2-5 weeks & remain as larvae for a couple of years, feeding on underwater creatures. The larvae climbs out of the water onto vegetation to undergo its final 'moult' & emerges from their final skin as winged adults.Typically UK insects fly for barely a few weeks.
Could this be a Broad Bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)