With the weather forecast looking promising for Saturday, I made my annual pilgrimage to Pittswood, near Tonbridge to catch up with my good friend Warren Baker of 'Pittswood Birds' fame. There are a few species which are not present in the east of Kent but occur in west Kent, namely White legged Damselfly, Beautiful Demoiselle and Downy Emerald. Warren had been posting nice photos of these species in the past few days and so we decided to meet up for a look around his patch. I checked the forecast before leaving and it promised light winds and lots of sunshine throughout the day. How rubbish this forecast was for as I arrived at Pittswood, it was raining quite hard and clouds everywhere. This proved to be the order of the day with light rain in between small breaks in the cloud allowing the sun to come through. The sun was never out for that long before the clouds rolled in again but despite this and thanks to Warren eyes, we managed to see all three target species. It took a couple of hours of searching before the first of 6 White legged Damselflies were seen and I was able to spend some time photographing these showy damselflies in a mixture of sunny spells and rain. As far as damselflies go, these are very approachable and quite unlike Azure and Variable which fly off at a moments notice. This species seemed happy to pose on the vegetation and when in flight, have a habit of flying with their legs dangling, quite a spectacle to see.
White legged Damselfly
I also managed to see 6 Beautiful Demoiselle and despite spending much time high up, we eventually found a confiding individual during a rain shower quite low. Again this species can be very wary but with a bit of patience, I was able to grab a few shots before she flew off high into the oaks.
Beautiful Demoiselle (female)
Lastly as we wandered around, we caught a brief view of a Downy Emerald in flight which hovered briefly before zipping off never to be seen again. Although the weather was pretty much against us, I at least come away having seen the target species and a few photos. My thanks go to Warren for showing me around and his dedication to find these species on a quite tough day. I'm away with the family for a couple of days camping from tomorrow but hopefully on Friday, I shall be making the long drive north to meet up with Paul Ritchie and other enthusiasts where we hope on Saturday to spend the day at Whixall Moss in Shropshire seeing and photographing the White faced Darter, a species I have never seen before. I must admit, i'm really excited about this trip and just hope the weather is on our side and we are treated to some great views of this rare dragonfly and hopefully a few nice photo opportunities too!