After a few soakings this week whilst cycling to and from work, it was an absolute pleasure to spend nearly 6 hours out in the warm sunshine today photographing and watching dragonflies. I arrived at a site near Reculver about 9.30am where as I walked up to the main lake, a few Common Darter could be seen making their first flights of the day. I decided to spend the first few hours looking for Willow Emerald Damselflies and after a good search, I managed to find 5 in their characteristic pose of 45 degrees at the end of the branches. I took a number of photos before moving on and photographing more as I searched and ended up with a few shots which I shall post in the next few days. With the temperature warming up I moved on where I could see a good number of Migrant Hawkers already up flying along the rides and over the water. My first initial plan was to try to get some photos of them in flight but this did not get very far but I'd needn't worry as I spent the next couple of hours along a stretch of water lined by reeds where a few Migrant Hawkers were patrolling their territory. They spent most of their time perched up in the reeds but as I have seen before, when they tend to be on territory and alert, they adopt a horizontal perch from which they look out for females and chase off males. After taking a few shots from different angles, I just sat back and watched for a while as they went about their business. I could hear the familiar buzz of wings occasionally in the reeds as females moved through and were seen egg laying but it was the speed of the males from their perches after females flew through the area that was most impressive. In literally a second or so, they had flown and grasped the female in mid air and landed again and started to mate. This gave me a few chances to get in near with the macro lens and take a number of shots.
'Mating' Migrant Hawkers
As I was photographing one pair, another 2 males were seen chasing and grasping females and returned to the reeds to mate. Whilst all this was happening, there were good numbers of Migrant Hawkers up high hunting, I didn't know where to look, it was quite a sight to see. With a few shots taken, I moved on where I saw a few Common Blue Damselfly still on the wing while good numbers of Common Darter seemed to be everywhere. I was surprised to see a female Emperor Dragonfly on the wing still and she allowed me to grab a few shots. I spent the last hour at another site nearby where I found 2 Willow Emerald Damselfly with one showing really well for photos, so well that at times it would land on my camera lens. Also here were good numbers of Migrant Hawker and a few Common Darter. A superb session in lovely warm autumnal sunshine with plenty still to see and photograph which made it a pleasure to be out and about. With a few hundred shots taken today, I shall post some more Migrant Hawker and Willow Emerald Damselfly shots in the next few days.
'Mating' Migrant Hawkers