Thursday, 28 August 2014

Camping with Dragonflies!

I have spent the past few days camping with the family at Nethergong Campsite, just north of Grove Ferry. Although not to far from home there is plenty for the kids to do and lots of nice walks to be had in the countryside. I have mentioned before about the wildlife but there is a superb number of species to be seen, during one night I heard Tawny, Little and Barn Owl calling outside the tent. There is a large shallow 'frog pond' as it is known which is teeming with frogs and plenty of dragonfly larvae. Both my children spent hours here in search of frogs, newts and dragonfly larvae. My eldest made it her mission to find some Hawker larvae and ended up finding hundreds of smaller larvae and 21 Hawker Larvae. I'm not too sure if they are Emperor, Migrant, Brown or Southern but they were impressive to study in the hand and in the water. I intend to try some photography during the colder months of dragonfly larvae in a water tank. There are 2 other lakes, one of which you can fish and a smaller lake. What they all have in common are they are home to a good range of dragonfly species. On this visit I noted a few Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawkers in incredible numbers everywhere, Common and Ruddy Darter, Southern Hawker, Common Blue and Blue tailed Damselflies. One species I did find here last time and a first record for the site were 7 Willow Emerald Damselfly, still a very rare national damselfly but seemingly doing well in parts of Kent although numbers seem down at a few sites this year. I went in search of them on a sunny afternoon and was thrilled to find c40 Willow Emerald Damselfly in new areas of the campsite. Many were in tandem and it seems that this colony has been around for some time and goes from strength to strength. With a good number around in the dykes and ditches and the back of my tent, the camera was soon into action and with some nice green pond weed as a background colour, I ended up with some pleasing shots of this species.

Male Willow Emerald Damselfly

I also managed to photograph a perched male Brown Hawker which I may post in due course along with Common Darter and Migrant Hawker. A really nice few days with the family with the added bonus of photographing some dragonflies. 

Male Willow Emerald Damselfly


  1. A lovely set of Willows Marc som truly great macro work.

  2. Hello Marc,
    I bet you and the children had a ball in this camping area!
    These shots are gorgeous!
    Good luck with the study of larvae, that is VERY tricky.
    And as for keeping some alive during the winter month, I suppose you'll have to feed them once in while...
    I have never tried it and will wait impatiently for your results!!
    Enjoy the day!

    1. I shall make a few visits during the colder months to find them in the pond if possible, take a small fish tank and see what I can get and photograph.

  3. Marc, I do like these Willow Emeralds, yet to see one for myself though :-( Like the last shot best :-)

  4. Maybe they will spread your way in the next few years. They seem to be ranging westwards slowly.

  5. I also have never managed to catch up with the Willows. Your pics make me want to get to Kent. Maybe soon I will manage to get the time. Keep up the good work and looking forward to the male Brown Hawker!!