Yesterday was spent at Nethergong where I entertained Paul and Sue Ritchie who had travelled up from Southampton to see the Willow Emerald Damselflies. Despite the weather not quite turning out as planned, we had some good sunny spells early on where I was able to find c40 Willow Emerald Damselflies and Paul was able to put his camera to good use to hopefully capture a few nice photos. In the afternoon the cloud built up and it even rained for a while which saw us finish early and retire to the local pub for a chat before they made the long journey back home. In my past few outings at Nethergong, I have noticed that Migrant Hawker numbers seem to be well down this year and in past years where I have seen c20/30 flying together, this year I have only been seeing no more than 5/6 flying around. Have they had a bad year or simply dispersed more to other areas? With the weather forecast looking quite good this morning with sun and light winds, I decided on another visit to Nethergong where the task was to see if I could capture a few photos of a male Migrant Hawker in flight. These are generally the easiest hawkers to capture in flight as they can often hover in the same place for some while which allows the photographer time to lock on to them and fire off some shots. Having said that, its still a challenge to capture some pleasing shots and every hawker acts differently. I spent some time walking up the side of a ditch where there were a few male Migrant Hawkers on territory and after watching them for a while noting their movements, I decided on an individual and settled in to an area where I hoped I could get some photos. I don't normally use the Sigma 150mm macro lens at all for flight shots but on this occasion, the Migrant Hawker was quite inquisitive and came in quite close a few times and hovered in front of me. I made the most of the situation and rattled off a few shots and was pleased with the quality of the photos. I continued to take a number of photos for a while until I changed the lens to the Canon f4 300mm where I again settled in and took a number of images. I think these are probably my best set yet of a male Migrant Hawker in flight and I will definitely return next week weather and time permitting to see if I can improve and learn more from the shots taken this morning. An excellent and very worthwhile challenge indeed.
Migrant Hawker (male) in flight