in the end I went for the former, and it turned out a good choice, for a lone male Common hawker came on patrol just after I arrived and I couldn't believe my luck as he hovered for long periods, so for once giving my slow-focusing camera ample time to lock on with great results :
|Common hawker at T W Pond|
I even amazed myself with this shot
Certainly my best ever flight shot of any species by far, very happy with that one :)
I reeled off a couple of others as opportunities arose and then he settled on the brambles far side of the pond so I was able to get a few shots perched up as well, the distance though making it difficult to achieve the same standard.
It wasn't long before Southern Hawker males started to arrive, three in quick succession, but these were much more flighty than the Common so didn't offer much in the way of photo opportunities, though one perched up for short while, again distant.
Many melees ensued before females too arrived on the scene, or were discovered in the undergrowth of the pond margins.
The Common Hawker latched on to a female and tried to drag her away, though she struggled free, but I'm sure a Southern female not a Common. Then he did it again with another female and the pair crashed into the tangle of brambles nearside and I managed to get a shot before they flew up, again parting company after a mid-air struggle.
|Yip, that's a male common hawker attempting to mate with a female|
southern hawker - needless to say, it ended in tears.
Eventually the right pairings occured, three females being carried off in to the tops of the conifers by Southern males, and I even managed a shot of one pair as they rose up above me.
The pond was vacant for a short while before another female southern came in to oviposit, no males to interrupt her now so I was able to track her around the pond and get some canny shots.
So another excellent session at one of my favourite local sites. Plenty of action with 1-2 Common hawker males, 4-5 Southern Hawker males, 4 Southern Hawker females and a lone common darter male.
Late season it may be but as they say the show ain't over 'til the fat bird squawks. Hopefully still more to come. :)