With the forecast for today looking very good with light winds, I had unfinished business with the nationally rare Southern Migrants Hawkers at Wat Tyler Country Park in Essex. I hoped that after my last session where I managed a distant record shot, that the weather would be on my side for once and that I may be able to see them and get a few decent images. I arrived at around 10am where the sun was already quite warm and the wind was indeed, very light which was good news. After getting ready and a brief snack and drink, I made my way to the pond where Neil Phillips had seen them the other day. There was already someone on site but despite waiting around for a while, we had no sightings so I decided to have a wander around. I checked a likely area with no luck but walking back to the main pool, I found 1 Southern Migrant Hawker flying up and down the boardwalk which showed well. I took a few images thinking they were quite good, they were to the other day but little did I know what lay in wait for the next hour or so. As I arrived back at the main pool, another dragonfly enthusiast saw a hawker on the other side of the pool where Neil had photographed them the other day. We walked round and was greeted by a superb male Southern Migrant Hawker flying around a small opening which along with another male, stayed around for an hour or so. We had 2, probably 3 male SOUTHERN MIGRANT HAWKERS sightings on this pool and after my 'record' shot the other day, I certainly improved on these with some stunning views of them perched and in flight. I did not expect to get shots like these of such a rare dragonfly in this country but even I am really pleased how they come out, some of my best photos I think I have taken this year. As the sun went in for a while, they landed nearby and allowed some nice profile shots from the side showing the key features of this species. Neil Phillips joined us for a while and was soon firing off a number of shots and after a good look at them through the binoculars, I said my goodbyes and made my way back to the car where I saw 1 Southern Migrant Hawker still flying up and down the boardwalk. Also seen today were a few Ruddy and Common Darters and 1 Emperor Dragonfly. A superb session with the images I had dreamed I would get in the bag and nice to be able to spent time and study them at close range. I don't think I will take a better set this year and to capture such a rarity is just the icing on the cake, suberb!
Southern Migrant Hawker (male)