Thursday, 8 August 2013

A MEGA Dragonfly at Reculver!

After spending much of the day watching Silver spotted Skippers and c400 Chalkhill Blue at Llyden Downs, photos to follow hopefully tomorrow, I called in at a site south of Reculver to see what was around and in particular to have a look to see if any Willow Emerald Damselflies were on the wing in the area yet. As I approached the water a large Dragonfly flew past me and banked showing what I thought was a blue saddle. I thought to myself, why is this not a Lesser Emperor but almost dismissed it and thought it must have been the light catching the back end of an Emperor Dragonfly. I have never seen this species before but hoped when I did encounter it, that I would know what it was straight away. I spent a few minutes making sure I was not going mad and hoped it would return but it didn't. I scanned the lake and could see 2 Emperor Dragonfly cruising around so took a walk around the perimeter. I was convincing myself all the time that what I had seen was indeed a blue saddle and that if it was an Emperor Dragonfly I would have known. I reached an area where I could scan an area I couldn't see originally and soon picked up on a dragonfly flying quite low over the water. Through the binoculars I could make out a large Dragonfly and when it banked, there was indeed a blue saddle and a darkish abdomen. It passed by on a few occasions showing greenish eyes. This was no dream and my gut feeling in first seeing this dragonfly was correct. I was watching a male Lesser Emperor Dragonfly, a new species for me and the first ever record in the Reculver area. Happy with the identification I thought I had better try to get a shot of it but it seemed to stay quite loyal to an area that I had no chance in getting a shot in. I convinced myself at this point that some sort of shot was going to be better than no shot and with the 300mm lens took a few dodgy shots at c50yds range. On the back of the camera I could make out what it was and the best shot if you can call it that is below. I have also added a smaller cropped version which clearly shows the blue saddle and all dark abdomen. Despite not being the best shots I hope it hangs around to the weekend where I will have to make a visit for a slight improvement if possible. Nonetheless a cracking species to see and a very happy man I am!

Lesser Emperor Dragonfly


  1. Now that's a good addition to your Odonata list Marc! Any sort of photo to aid ID is better than nothing, looks like one of my photographic efforts!

  2. Marc ,
    Very well done with your Lesser Emperor , a species I've never seen .
    Terry Laws and Phil Sharp (Sharp by Nature) had a specimen at New Hythe in the recent past .

  3. Fantastic record Marc. It's turning out to be a good year in Kent for dragons and damsels.
    Just for the record the specimen at NH was first seen and photographed by Terry. I was just lucky enough to catch up with it at a later date. Great to see though!