So here’s a little bit about dragonfly fieldcraft to aid like-minded souls in creating the best opportunities for a successful Dragonhunt. I know to a lot of you this will be common knowledge and common sense but a gentle reminder at the beginning of the season never comes in wrong. In my four years of writing this blog I find there’s always something new to learn, and it’s nice to go through the basics again before the start of the season.
Sit and wait with (your nice dry) camera at the ready and eventually a chaser will adopt it, you may also attract darters and damselflies. This tactic may require a lot of patience and waiting around but once the dragonfly finds your perch you will be rewarded with great shots. It’s also much less frustrating than chasing them around the pond as they rarely perch where or when you want them to.
As you are more than likely photographing on damp ground, its a good idea to take a bin liner to kneel or lie on as they don't take up much space in your kit bag, and gardening knee pads are handy as well (if you don't mind looking a berk). A wide-brimmed hat serves the dual purpose of protecting your head from the sun and keeps the sun out of your eyes.
And as dragonflies eat other insects, they are inevitably found where there are lots of other insects, which unfortunately including bitey ones like mosquitos and cleg flies, so take a good repellent. I was bitten by a cleggy last year and it bloody hurt, and once they find you they won’t leave you alone, which can be a bit distracting to say the least.
And finally always wear earthy or dull colours. Dragonflies are particularly sensitive to UV light which bright objects and clothing give off by the bucketful.
Octagon Pond – Preferred by the Common Blue damsels but not as good for photos as the Lily Pond as it is surrounded by a fenced-off overgrown area for wildlife. Damsels perch on the fence though and you may get a mating wheel in good view.
Walled Garden Pond – Good site for Ruddy Darters (July-Aug), usually found among the surrounding flower plots.
Good hunting, and please let me know what you find and where. All my sightings and records will appear on this blog during the summer, please feel free to contribute or send any interesting photos (any used will be credited with a link to your blog if you have one) to firstname.lastname@example.org