With June and July having a good range of species on the wing, it wasn't no surprise that I made quite a few visits to places in Kent and a few out of the county. A return trip to Thursley Common provided me with my best ever views of Brilliant Emerald including a few seen emerging and some exuviae collected.
Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica) - newly emerged female
Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica) - teneral male
I spent a while again this year trying to photograph the rarely seen emergence of the Banded Demoiselle and was rewarded well with a superb emergence which provided some lovely photo opportunities.
Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) - newly emerged female
Having only ever seen the Common Clubtail once before, I made another out of county visit to West Sussex where I was able to spend the day seeing my first ever mature males of this species and take a few pleasing photos.
Common Clubtail (Gomphus vulgatissimus) - male
With news in Essex of the Southern Migrant Hawkers starting to emerge, I made the trip over hoping I might be able to see some and collect some exuviae. Not only did I find a few exuviae but I was treated to finding a few having recently just emerged and over 50 Southern Migrant Hawkers making their maiden flights. Quite a spectacle to see.
Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - newly emerged male
Better was to come as I had never seen this species in Kent when I was alerted to a few in north Kent at Cliffe. It took me a few visits but thankfully, good friend, Frank Cackett was able to find me a few to see and my first ever Kent individuals.
Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - female
Little did I know that this species was to have an excellent year and not long after, a good number started to appear in Kent and Oare Marshes boasted the majority. I spent quite a few hours here over some visits and was able to study and photograph this species well including some of my favourite shots this year. A true highlight and one that I hope is repeated next year too.
Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - male
Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - mating pair
The past few years has seen the Norfolk Hawker increase in numbers in the Stour Valley and this year was no different as good numbers were seen and photographed. A good number of exuviae were also found and collected.
Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles) - male
A chance netting session rewarded me with a Brown Hawker nymph which was then put into my pond and after a few weeks of waiting, I was then able to photograph the emergence of this lovely dragonfly, another first for me.
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) - emerging female)
A few sessions at dusk trying to photograph the silhouettes of Banded Demoiselles is always a thrilling time to be out and after some patience, I was able to find a few willing subjects to photograph.
Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) - male at sunset
Mid July is the time of the Willow Emerald Damselfly and after a few fruitless visits, they started to emerge and a few early morning visits to the stream at Nethergong provided me with a few emerging to photograph. I never tire of this sight and it's wonderful to just sit back and enjoy this marvel of nature develop in front of you.
Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis) - emerging
Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis) - female
A really busy couple of months but most definitely some excellent rewards had for the time I had put in. My next instalment of highlights will feature the odonata seen throughout August and September.