Having made a few visits to Oare Marshes in the past week to see the Southern Migrant Hawkers and published a number of photos on my blog and Twitter, I was contacted by Mark Johnson from Lincolnshire who wanted to make the long journey south to see these still nationally rare dragonflies. A plan was hatched whereby Mark, his wife Sally and 2 other enthusiasts would come down Sunday to see the Southern Migrant Hawkers and the Willow Emerald Damselflies at Nethergong. Sunday dawned quite sunny and warm and around 10am, I met them all locally and we then drove down to Nethergong and parked up. Two Of the party had never seen Willow Emerald Damselflies before and it took us all of about two minutes to locate the first which went down well with everyone and enabled the cameras to come out and start clicking away. We then spent the next 2 hours walking around the site and with four pairs of eyes looking, it wasn't a surprise that we found an excellent 139 Willow Emerald Damselfly. Many were seen making their maiden flights from the reeds and everyone was able to obtain lovely views of this species and grab a number of images. I still stand Nethergong being one of the best sites in the country to see this species and in the past few weeks, I have had well over 200 emerge. After a snack to eat back at the cars, we then drove over to Oare Marshes where the targets were obviously the Southern Migrant Hawkers. Despite quite a breeze, the sun was shining and it felt quite warm. We made our way to the east flood path where a few minutes later, I was able to put them all on to their first ever Southern Migrant Hawker which gave lovely views and provided a few photo opportunities. Having now had a good idea of where the males were patrolling, I was then able to show them plenty of other males on territory and over on the west flood path, I located a few males which showed well in flight and occasionally landed. They certainly were spoilt for choice and we ended up seeing 11 Southern Migrant Hawkers. My work was done and with four happy enthusiasts, I said my goodbyes and left them in peace to enjoy the Hawkers. The following photos have been taken in the past few visits including a possible first for the reserve at Oare in the shape of a male Norfolk Hawker. Also photographed were a mating pair of Southern Migrant Hawkers which looks good for the future of this species on the reserve and hopefully, they can establish a thriving colony which can support itself and eventually push out into nearby dykes and ditches. Fingers crossed, the future looks pretty good for this species.
Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - male
Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles) - male