Sunday, 10 August 2014

Early Morning Emergers

Yesterday morning at 5am I made the short drive to a site south of Reculver where I wanted to see if any damselflies could be photographed with dew on them. Again the conditions were not right on arrival so I found a few damselflies to train the camera on as the sun come up. While I waited I thought I would have a look in the margins to see if any dragonflies could be seen emerging. Knowing that the Hawkers tend to emerge at night I checked an area where I had found some Migrant Hawker exuvia a few days ago. As I scanned through the reeds I picked up the sight I was looking for, a newly emerged Migrant Hawker. A few inches below it was the fresh exuvia so I quickly went and got the tripod and camera and set up in the water. The sun duly arrived given me the opportunity to capture a few shots of this special moment but with the hawker still very wet, I knew this might take some time to dry out.

 Immature Male Migrant Hawker

 Immature Male Migrant Hawker Wing 

In the mean time I checked some more areas where I was able to find quite a few Common Darter emerging. Annoyingly, they had all just emerged and were hanging on their larval cases which did provide some nice photo challenges but I would like to have seen one emerging from the start and try to capture this event on the camera, another challenge for sometime.

Newly Emerged Common Darter

I spent the next 2 hours going backwards and forwards between the Migrant Hawker and Common Darters where I continues to take a selection of shots as they slowly dried out. Eventually the Migrant Hawker went into some action and moved to a nearby stick where it rested until its wings were fully open which gave me more photo opportunities.

Immature Male Migrant Hawker

With time moving on I decided to go down to Westbere Lakes but before I left I did see lots of Common Blue and Blue tailed Damselfly, 1 Emperor Dragonfly and a few Black tailed Skimmer and Small Red eyed Damselfly. I made the 10 minute journey to Westbere where after having a drink I wandered up to the river and took a stroll west towards Fordwich. I saw c10 Migrant Hawker dragonflies with a few posing in the sunshine for shots while a male flew by hovering at times allowing me to grab a few shots, I will save some of these shots for a rainy day.

Male Migrant Hawker

I also noted c8 Brown Hawker which proved yet again frustrating but I did see a perched female which using the reeds I crept up on and fired off a few shots before she flew off, not a very angle and with a cluttered background but a shot nonetheless.

Female Brown Hawker

With this I decided to walk back to the car seeing hundreds of Banded Demoiselles and 1 Southern Hawker. A lovely session with a few bonus shots taken as well, superb to watch them emerging early morning and witness this miracle of nature happening before your very eyes. Hopefully a few visits in the week if the sun comes out but I have a few extra shots if not to post in the meantime.


  1. Got some lovely poses in those shots Marc, you've obviously put some thought into your positioning to get those lovely clean backgrounds. Amazes me how something so big emerges from those small larval cases.

    Good to see you're getting nearer to that Brown Hawker shot too :-)

    1. I must admit Warren that backgrounds are on my mind all the time now, sometimes its good and sometimes its bad. I have passed on a few shots of late due to the backgrounds, eventually I often get lucky. Having said that I would take any background for a clear open winged shot of a Brown Hawker.

  2. Well done Marc on some great shots there. As mentioned the background is so important to show the wings off but with dragonflies you don't always have the chance of a clean background. That Brown Hawker is getting nearer but are the wings still going to be in good condition? Some species get easier as the insect gets older!! Good luck anyway.

  3. Spectacular shots as always Marc. I must try to use your database on your website to revise more often as I see so many different dragonflies, birds of prey and wildfowl at Fordwich when I'm fishing, many of which I cannot identify. Thanks for another enjoyable post!