With heavy rain and thunderstorms predicted for late afternoon in east Kent, I hoped that it would hold off until after I was able to get out of work. Thankfully it did, and at 4.30pm I left work and drove over to Westbere Lakes to see if any Norfolk Hawkers could be found. I decided not to hang around and made my way straight to the dykes as in the distance, heavy dark clouds could be seen coming my way. I arrived in good time and the sun was still shining but I knew I had a brief window until the cloud reached me. I walked the dyke and on the way up, no sign except a Hairy Dragonfly but on the way back, I could see 1 Norfolk Hawker in flight and after waiting briefly, it landed nearby. Not quite near enough for the Sigma 150mm macro so once again the Canon f4 300mm lens was bought into action and I managed a few nice shots from different angles. With the clouds moving nearer, the Norfolk Hawker moved off and I watched as he moved deeper into cover, seemingly knowing what was about to happen. I slowly walked back and stopping every now and then to check for resting dragonflies, I noticed an exuvia hanging onto a reed. I could see it was a hawker exuvia and reaching out, I managed to gently remove it off the reed. Most annoyingly, the head was missing but my suspicions were that it was a Norfolk Hawker exuvia. It was smaller than Emperor and not the right shape for Hairy Dragonfly. I don't know why now, but I then dropped it in the water. I should've bought it home to read up on and maybe I could have identified it from what I had. A lesson to learn and a reminder to make sure I have some plastic pots to keep them in when I am out. Thankfully, I just made it back to the car before the first rain drops started to hit the windscreen. Weather permitting, hopefully a visit out over the weekend to hopefully photograph Norfolk Hawkers or look for Emeralds or Red veined Darters. With so much on the wing, its a hard choice to know where to go. I just hope I have a good time, learn something new and maybe get a few photo opportunities.
Norfolk Hawker (male)