With the forecast for temperatures in the low 30's today I spent the day with Dave Bushell where we took a drive around Kent, calling in at Dover on our way to see the Black Redstarts which posed nicely for some shots. The main aim of the day was to see a new dragonfly species, namely the Brilliant Emerald which had been seen a few days earlier at Bedgebury on one of the lakes. After a pleasant drive over in already warm temperatures we duly arrived at the lake although parking was a slight issue. Within seconds of getting out of the car I could see an Emerald Dragonfly flying low over the water and briefly hovering. After a quick drink we strolled over to the lake where a few minutes later I was able to confirm the first of 10 Brilliant Emerald Dragonflies seen today. One of the features to look for is the yellow frons on the front of the head and these can be seen in some of the shots obtained today. I certainly was not expecting to see them perched but did not complain when they did so. They showed very well at times allowing the both of us to fire off a number of shots.
Brilliant Emerald Dragonfly
Also seen here were 2 Migrant Hawker, 2 Brown Hawker, 2 White legged Damselflies and 1 Brimstone flew past.
White legged Damselfly
After moving the car to another location and seeing the first of 2 Silver washed Fritillary fly by we walked on down to the lake again and spent some time on the bridge trying for a few flight shots. This is not an easy task and most shots were blurred with only one shot satisfying me but it shows the yellow frons well.
Brilliant Emerald Dragonfly
As we watched dragonflies everywhere I noticed a large Dragonfly go by and thought it looked like a Golden ringed Dragonfly. There was a small stream behind us and so went to investigate which was a good move as we soon found 2 Golden ringed Dragonfly which after a while posed beautifully in the sunshine.
Golden ringed Dragonfly
Ruddy Darters were seen here as were more White legged Damselfly and 1 White Admiral floated by. After yet more shots we had one more look at the Brilliant Emeralds before I noticed a darker Emerald land in a tree. Scrutiny of this Dragonfly led us to the conclusion of a Downy Emerald Dragonfly, the lack of yellow on the frons, more waisted appearance and shorter appendages all noted.
With the day going to plan and my luck still working nicely we decided to drive over to Dene Park to see if we could see and photograph Purple Emperor, not before I was able to jump out of the car in the car park to grab some much wanted Brimstone shots, at last!
On arrival Dave took us to the area concerned where on the way we saw 1 Silver washed Fritiilary and a few White Admiral. We then spent some time scanning the tops of the Oaks in the sunshine when I noticed a large butterfly gliding around, it was of course a Purple Emperor. Not long after in another area we had 2 Purple Emperor spiraling above the trees providing a great sight but they did not come down at all for photos. Also seen here were 2 Brown Hawker, 1 Southern Hawker, 1 Common Darter and a couple of Purple Hairstreak. With the day list looking very good we made our way back to the car where on the way 1 Purple Hairstreak showed for a few photos. A literally 'Brilliant' day with a new species seen and some excellent back up species for the day. Many thanks to Dave for driving and the great company throughout the day. I will have to think what my next mission will be, Grayling and Silver spotted Skipper come to mind! One of my best sessions of the year so far. Thanks to a reply last night from Jonathan Lethbridge about my photo issues, I have managed I think to solve the problem by turning off the 'auto enhance' which seemed to be a problem and making my photos look noisy and drained of colour.