Monday, 13 December 2021

2021 Odonata Highlights (August - October)

I spent quite a few hours during August at Nethergong where I was trying to gather evidence that the Southern Migrant Hawkers were attempting to breed on a small dried up pool. Being on site so much also gave me the chance to study their movements and I decided at an early stage to see whether I could get some pleasing flight shots of this species. After hours of firing away and a few pleasing efforts earnt, I soon found an individual showing well in an accessible area and set about studying its movements. The image in my head was a sideways shot perpendicular to the lens with all of the dragonfly in focus showing off the superb colours. I had quite a few 'nearly' shots until eventually all the pieces fell into place one session and I was able to rattle off a burst of photos. Thankfully in there were a few very pleasing images which made all the hundreds of out of focus shots worthwhile.

Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - male

More studying of the area soon revealed a few mating pairs and with patience I was able to stalk a few pairs and get a few images. I also witnessed quite a lot of ovipositing and even one blue morph female attempting to egg lay on my walking boot.

Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - mating pairs (female blue form - bottom photo)

I felt that most of my free time was with this species but with every chance that they have already / might breed, I really enjoyed learning about this species, and educating some of the campers about this species.

Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - male

I didn't have to wander far in August (a few metres) to see quite a few Willow Emerald Damselfly and a few sessions were had including one early morning photographing them at dawn as they warmed up for the day.

Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis)

A field trip to Sandwich Bay produced a few Southern Emerald Damselfly and it was nice to be able to show them to others who this was a new species to see.

Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barbarus) - female

Dragging myself away from Nethergong, I made a trip over to Hothfield Common near Ashford to see Kent's current only colony of Keeled Skimmer. They are only here in small numbers but they manage to hang on each year. A wander around produced a few males and with patience I was able to take some pleasing photos of this species.

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) - male

News reached me that some Golden ringed Dragonflies were being seen at a small stream in west Kent so armed with directions, I had a few hours visiting the site where up to three were seen. It was a superb session sat by the stream on my own surrounded by nature watching and photographing this stunning species at close range. Add plenty of Beautiful Demoiselle and it was a memorable day.

Golden ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) - male

Back at Nethergong and one session saw over 200 Migrant Hawkers flying above my head which provided a spectacle for myself and numerous campers. They provided a few photos opportunities as they occasionally flew down to land.

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) - male

As mentioned in my last post, I think I could have posted many others which provided a nice shot or memory. I shall post my top three shots in due coarse which I am currently struggling to decide. I may need the help of others with this!


  1. Each shot is work of art, Marc. Your patience and expertise are well rewarded.

    1. Much appreciated Wilma. Always looking to improve. Take care.

  2. Incredible shots Marc. Keep 'em commin'.

    1. Many thanks Mike. Nice to look back on now the season is done. It won't be long until it's that that time again. Take care.

  3. Fabulous photography, Marc, with those of the Southern Migrant Hawkers and Willow Emeralds, being unbeatably good. Stay safe - - - Richard

  4. Thank you Richard. Think I spent too much time with these two species this year but being so close to home, it's hard to resist. I hope the SMH breed and I can capture a few nymphs next year. That would be awesome. Take care.

  5. Beautiful images, for example, the Southern Migrant Hawker and the Golden ringed Dragonfly, well done Marc.