I spent a superb 4 hours at a private site this morning in East Kent watching and photographing dragonflies. On arrival there were a good number of emerging Common Darter still hanging on to their larval cases and plenty of Common Blue and Azure Damselfly were also noted. As the sun picked up I began to see a few Black tailed Skimmer appearing from the grass and a Hobby appeared for a few minutes reducing the dragonfly numbers by a few. With some Red veined Darter reported yesterday from Sandwich Bay I thought I would spend some time looking for this species and after looking at countless numbers of Common Darter I found a likely looking suspect in the grass. I managed to get a little closer and could see it was indeed a Red veined Darter, probably a young male. The blue colour to the lower eye standing out well being a good indicator of this species. I managed to get a few shots before it flew off and I carried on searching.
Immature Male Red veined Darter
By mid morning it was quite hot and dragonflies were everywhere. There were hundreds of Common Blue Damselflies and it was pleasing to see 30 Four spotted Chaser, 2 Emerald Damselfly and 10 Emperor Dragonfly patrolling the water. As I sat and watched I saw a few Emperors having a bit of a fight and raising the binoculars I could see one of them had a blue saddle and a dark abdomen. It quickly vanished but I was convinced I had just seen a Lesser Emperor Dragonfly. I sat and waited and a few minutes later my thoughts were confirmed when I had good views of a male LESSER EMPEROR DRAGONFLY getting chased by an Emperor. I tried for a quick shot but with only the Sigma 150mm macro on I could not get on to it. I only saw it one more time but this time saw the green eyes well, what a superb dragonfly to find again after last years find near Reculver. Moving on the grass was now becoming alive with teneral damselflies and dragonflies taking to the wing and there were a good showing of 30 Black tailed Skimmer over the water and a few showy Emperor dragonflies kept the camera busy. I could see a few red flashes over the water and landing occasionally and a count produced 5 Red veined Darter with a smart male allowing me to grab a few shots.
Male Red veined Darter
This species is seemingly doing well at a few sites in Kent and I shall be back to see if I an improve on todays efforts. A superb morning with some quality seen and dragonflies everywhere keeping the camera and me busy. Plenty of shots taken which I shall post throughout the week.
Male Red veined Darter