Each year I look forward to seeing the male Southern Hawker. The mix of colours on this species are just incredible to see and I often find myself mesmerized by the colours in the eyes. I have seen a few males on my last few encounters at Nethergong but they have rarely given me a chance to photograph them perched. I have found this species quite tricky to photograph in flight as they seem to only pause ever so briefly in flight to hover unlike the Migrant and Norfolk Hawker which can hover for some time. I was lucky to find one flying up and down a ditch last weekend which seemed to follow the same path so using the Sigma 150mm macro lens again, I settled into a position near the waters edge and started to study its movements and when and where it paused to hover. My answers didn't help much as although it continued to fly up and down the ditch, it was pausing to hover in a variety of areas at different heights. Knowing I only ever had taken a few flight shots of this species, I was determined to capture something with the camera so I spent the next frustrating hour firing off a number of blurred shots, empty frame shots, parts of dragonfly shots and thankfully, a few shots where my luck held out. I found it really hard if I was honest and didn't know whether to follow and track the hawker or wait for it to hover and then rush to focus and fire off shots. In the end I decided on the latter and had to work at pace when it briefly paused. There is still lots of room for improvement with these shots but its a step in the right direction and I enjoyed the challenge. In other news, I have finally managed to photograph a few Brown Hawkers over the past week. Not processed them yet but hopefully, my next post may bring you in my opinion, one of the toughest species to photograph.
Southern Hawker (male) in flight