With perfect conditions today in east Kent, very light winds and pretty warm, I decided on a visit after work to Westbere Lakes to see how the Norfolk Hawkers were fairing. On arrival at 3.45pm, it was indeed very warm as I walked up to the dykes near the river where in the next hour and a half, I managed to see c15 Norfolk Hawker, many still in excellent condition. As I walked along the dykes checking I saw at least 3 mating pairs and a couple of females ovipositing which is great news. A few of the males seen were showing quite nicely in flight and I remembered from last years season that this seemed to be the case as they patrolled their territory. With this in mind and loving the challenge of capturing one in flight with a half decent background, I checked out a few likely candidates until I found a male hovering every now and then. I watched for a while as he made some passes, making mental notes on roughly the height and distance that he was from me. I always use manual focus for most of my dragonfly photography and I find it a must for flight shots. I took a few shots to see what the background contrast was going to be like and adjusted the settings accordingly. I then settled in to a good position and hoped he would continue passing up and down the dyke and with luck on my side, I was able to rattle off a number of shots with some turning out quite nicely but there was one shot in particular which turned out better than expected.
Norfolk Hawker (male)
As you can imagine, you don't have a lot of time to get the subject in focus, rattle off a few shots whilst trying to make sure the subject is perpendicular to the camera, thus giving you the best chance of getting all the dragonfly in focus. I think this shot is up there with my best Norfolk Hawker flight shots, it may even be the best one yet but I think the planning beforehand put me in the position to make the most of the moment. I took a number of other images of the Norfolk Hawkers which I will post in due coarse. Other bits noted included 1 Brown Hawker, 1 Black tailed Skimmer and lots of Blue tailed Damselfly. On the way home I called into Marshside to see if I could find any Willow Emerald Damselflies but despite searching along the dykes, I failed to find any. I suspect they will emerge in the next few days weather permitting.