Well actually, just a 10 minute drive down the road to Westbere Lakes where there is a thriving colony of the nationally rare Norfolk Hawker. This dragonfly in the past few years continues to go from strength to strength with plenty of sightings this year in the Stour Valley and beyond in east Kent. I have spoken to a number of observers this year who have seen groups of 7-10 at different locations around the area and it really looks likely now that they are breeding or attempting to breed away from the Westbere Lakes stronghold. I would really like to spend a day in the area doing a count as I think we would all be surprised by the number around but its just getting the time to get out for a good number of hours. However, please feel free to continue to email or tweet me with your sightings of this dragonfly. They are all very much appreciated and help build up a picture of how this dragonfly is doing in east Kent. With a number of sightings being seen, I made a visit to Westbere Lakes for an hour or so Sunday afternoon in sunny but quite windy conditions. As I neared the dykes near the river, I soon saw the first of c10 Norfolk Hawker flying up the channels and across the paths chasing other males around. I spent some time having a good study of them before the camera made an appearance and a good number of photos were taken. I found one male which was showing quite nicely in flight and I spent some time firing off a number of photos. A few turned out quite nicely but with the wind being quite strong, it was quite challenging and hopefully I can return for another attempt at this. Weather permitting this weekend, I can share my time between looking for Emerald and Willow Emerald Damselflies emerging and another visit to Norfolk to take in the experience once again. Its certainly worth a visit if you have the time.
Norfolk Hawker (male)