I spent a few hours over Grove Ferry this morning, arriving quite early to avoid the heat which still didn't really work. The beginning of August normally heralds the start of the Migrant Hawker season and although I have seen quite a few over Oare Marshes in the past week, I have not seen the normal numbers I would have expected by now at Grove Ferry or Nethergong. Hopefully they are still away from the water maturing up and numbers will build up in the coming weeks. If there is a dragonfly I would advice to start on for flight photography, it would be the Migrant Hawker. They have a tendency to hover at times for long periods in one spot which enables the photographer to lock on and fire off a few shots. However, every dragonfly is different and sometimes it may take some searching until you come across one that is willing to play ball. There were a few hovering this morning quite early in various pools but they were either too far away, I was looking into the sun or they didn't pause and hover for long enough. After a search of a few ditches, I eventually found a male Migrant Hawker which seemed to tick all the boxes and set about taking a few photos of them in flight. A brief watch first before taking photos resulted in me building up some knowledge of where he often paused and hovered, the angle he was often at and the height he patrolled. With this information, I was able to then hone in on a few areas where I fired off a few early season flights shots of this species. Every now and then, he would landed vertically on a reed to look over his territory and not horizontally like most other hawkers do. I have seen Norfolk Hawkers do this as well a few times but this behaviour seems quite unique to this species. I would be interested if any other species adopt this vertical pose when perching. Hopefully a few more sessions with this species in the next month or so to see whether their numbers do build up and whether a few pleasing photos can be obtained of this late Summer/Autumn hawker.
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) - male