Its that time of the year when we all start looking back at the past 12 months and remembering some of the wildlife encounters that made fond memories, it may have been seeing a new species, a special photograph or simply just the brilliant feeling of being out with nature and enjoying those special moments in time. At the beginning of the year I decided to see if I could make my dragonfly and damselfly lists respectable. I have been interested in these insects for the last couple of years but never really put much time in for them unless they often found me. I made a number of specific visits to see particular species I had never seen before, mostly in Kent but with a visit to Thursley Common which I must say is a must for any dragonfly enthusiast. With a bit of hard work and a bit of luck, I managed to add 13 species to my Odonata list. These were Beautiful Demoisielle, Scarce Emerald Damselfly, Southern Emerald Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Small Red Damselfly, White legged Damselfly, Keeled Skimmer, Black Darter, Red veined Darter, Golden ringed Dragonfly, Downy Emerald, Brilliant Emerald and a self found Lesser Emperor Dragonfly. Thankfully these trips provided me with many hours of photography in mostly warm sunny days which I very much look forward to already next year. Other than seeing new species, probably the dragonfly highlight was seeing breeding Norfolk Hawkers at Westbere Lakes. I was fortunate to find the 3rd Kent record in 2012 but having these very rare national dragonflies breeding a few minutes from home was somewhat brilliant news. I spent a good few hours watching and photographing them and it is probably the first photo below which takes the prize as probably my best dragonfly photo of 2013.
I hope you enjoy some of the dragonfly photos I have taken this year and hopefully 2014 will see me adding yet more new species. More photos of dragonflies and damselflies can be seen at my new website by clicking HERE. A look back at some of my butterfly and birds encounters will hopefully follow in the next few days.
Red veined Darter
Southern Emerald Damselfly
Brilliant Emerald Dragonfly
Golden ringed Dragonfly
and finally not the best shot below but the best I could get of the first ever Reculver record of this species.
Lesser Emperor Dragonfly