Wednesday, 10 August 2016

'Southern' Love!

I have mentioned in my last few posts of my desire to photograph arguably the most attractive of our dragonflies in this country, the male Southern Hawker. I have managed to photograph the odd Southern Hawker in the past few sessions but on most occasions, they have been females and when I have encountered males, they are often quite high up or partially resting in shade. Today was no different and with the family going out with friends for a few hours, I made a visit to Nethergong at 10.15am where upon arrival, there was sunshine and clouds but it felt quite warm in the sheltered areas. I had a walk around initially where I saw c40 Migrant Hawker throughout the session and 45 Willow Emerald Damselfly were counted in the sunshine on the eastern boundary along with a few Emerald Damselfly, 2 Brown Hawker and a few Common Darter and 2 Blue tailed and 1 Azure Damselfly. As I walked the eastern path, a male Southern Hawker was flying up and down the path and with the sun going in for a bit, he looked like he was trying to find somewhere to rest, and thankfully he did. I slowly crept up to him and although he was not in the best setting for photography, I started to take a number of shots using some in camera flash, edging ever nearer after a few shots were taken until I was very close. I spent some time just studying his markings and colours and I was then in no doubt, that this dragonfly is an absolute stunner.




Southern Hawker (male)

I continued to take a number of photos until he moved to a better setting briefly where I took a couple of shots before the sun was out and he was off again.

Southern Hawker (male)

It was worth getting out today just for this encounter but as I wandered on I found a further 3 Southern Hawker including 1 female and after waiting a while, one of the males come to rest on some blackberries. This was in a more public place as campers walked by but again I was able to get quite close and take a number of pleasing shots from different angles.



Southern Hawker (male)

The owners of the campsite duly arrived with some campers and after calling them over, they all had lovely views of this dragonfly up close with a few taking photos on their mobiles. I was soon on my own again where I made time to study the markings before he took flight to continue patrolling the dykes I suspect. These are by far my best set so far of this species and will be hard to beat I expect unless I find a male with an uncluttered background but it was nice to go out today with a challenge in mind and succeed. Weather permitting, I may even be back out tomorrow at some point.

10 comments:

  1. Completely agree with you Marc. This species is a work of art! Beautiful series of shots and I particularly like the ones with the blackberry perch - it provides a sense of scale and a pleasing contrast in textures/shapes. Good luck tomorrow if you go!

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    1. Many thanks Lucy. Its not until you really look at them that you realise they are totally magical and the range of colours is out of this world.

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  2. BRILLIANT and 'hard to beat' indeed Marc, but I bet you're going to try to all the same.

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    1. Many thanks Pete and you know me, I will always be keeping an eye out for a better chance.

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  3. Oh my, never anything like it, fantastic photographer Marc.

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    1. Thanks Bob. Certainly a stunning dragonfly to observe.

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  4. Delighted to see you had better luck with the Southerns yesterday, Marc. Now I've seen your images, I have to agree that the male Southern is an absolute cracker! I confess to previously having taken them a bit for granted!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

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    1. Many thanks Richard. This year I have seen more than I normally do but thats probably because I have targeted them more. Time well spent in my opinion.

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  5. Stunning images ....I have yet to find SH this year ( though everyone else has !! ) As i have said will be travelling down from n.Wales on Sunday leaving Tuesday so will hopefully get time to visit this site .

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    1. Many thanks Dylan, much appreciated.

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