Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Dragonflies are Go Go Go!

With some nice sunshine forecast for today I planned to go a little later in the hope a few dragonflies would be on the wing for the first time this year. I left home at 9.30am where I then drove over to Shuart and parked up. This is one of the best areas in the Reculver recording area for the Hairy Dragonfly and I hoped that today would be my lucky day with them. After parking up I had a look around the area but it was still quite chilly and I didn't hold out much hope for them in these conditions. There were a few butterflies just about on the wing but I decided to do a circuit down to the sea and west along to Coldharbour before walking back to Shuart in the hope that a few hours later the temperature would have warmed up nicely. It was generally quiet but I did see 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 4 Blackcap, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Kestrel, 2 Common Buzzard, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Red legged Partridge, 5 Reed Bunting, 1 Redpoll and 4 Whitethroat. It was nice to hear and see 2 Reed Warbler, the first of the year in the Reculver area at Plumpudding stables. Also seen were 5 Ringed Plover, 5 Shelduck, 6 Skylark, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Green Woodpecker and 1 Willow Warbler. After arriving back at the car I removed a few layers and as planned the temperature had warmed up so I walked again down the drove at Shuart. As can be seen in the photo, trees and bushes line both sides creating a sun trap in the middle and it is along here I spent an hour or so wandering and checking trees. After walking up and down a few times I at last caught sight of a dragonfly in flight as it left a bush. It was of course a Hairy Dragonfly, a female which soon come to rest again briefly allowing me to grab a rushed shot.

Female Hairy Dragonfly

I tried to get around behind it but it took off every time. As I continued to wander I ended up seeing 3 Hairy Dragonfly, 2 females and 1 male. I took a few shots using the Canon f4 300mm lens but with the dragonflies seemingly very wary I did not attempt the Sigma 150mm macro, it will have its time soon.

Male Hairy Dragonfly

Feeling very satisfied having seen my first of the year I wandered on back to the car. It was also a good day for butterflies with plenty of Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Green veined and Small White, 4 Orange Tip and 2 Holly Blue. Its supposed to be warmer tomorrow so I hope to get a few hours again at Shuart trying for more photos and maybe a visit to Stodmarsh to look for Large Red Damselfly.

Shuart Drove


  1. That piece of habitat looks like Odonata heaven marc! Nice shots to start the Dragon season off, light was a bit fierce today I thought :-) My mission is to find and photograph a Hairy Dragon on my patch this year - not easy as they are seldom seen here :-(

  2. Brilliant dragonflies over there, in west of England there isn't many. Yours are superb Marc.

  3. Fantastic Marc!
    I don't have this species where I live, nor does Alain.
    Only Morikan around the Loire area.
    Lucky you!
    The 300 mm lens works perfectly but once you've got accustomed to the Sigma 150, you'll be very happy!
    You will find that the best Aperture is around 8/9.
    Can't wait to see your pics with it!!