On Thursday there were plenty of Migs about but mostly in flight. Michael E. was also present trying his luck, and so the long periods of waiting between perched up dragonflies resulted in some interesting chat about the good old days, dragons and butterflies, and I even learned a few things about the latter so cheers for that Michael.
All in all a frustrating session photography-wise, I only reeled off about half a dozen photos of a couple of perched up Migs, so not a great deal to choose from but here are the best of them :
|First Migrant hawker photo of 2015, and I had to wait until October.|
|This male was at a good angle but quite distant, the mangled pulp under his chin|
is the discarded part of his meal.
This caddis fly was plucked out of the air by a male Mig just in front
of me, then the dragonfly flew towards my face and spat it out!
It landed on my top then fell to the floor, looking none the worse
for the experience.
A bit disappointed with Thursday's results overall despite a pleasant session, but a second opportunity came on Friday as I had to go into Newcastle to drop some work off at the gallery, so took my bins and camera and hopped off the bus near Shibdon Pond on the way back, timing it nicely to coincide with the peak time for the Mig hawkers early afternoon.
Again everything was a bit flighty and a few shots got away early on thanks to me being too slow with the camera and a pesky darter guarding territory along the boardwalk which had the frustrating habit of putting any nearby perched up hawker back in the air again before I could get a shot off.
|This darter was a constant pain in the backside, guarding territory by the open pool|
which happened to be the best area for the migrant hawkers
|And this is a typical result of his meddling :-(|
I did manage to get a couple of shots of one Migrant hawker which didn't turn out bad but once again he was up before I could close in properly and that was my only reward for the first hour on site :
I now feared it was going to be another frustrating session as the hawkers flying around my head were in constant feeding mode, only settling briefly to quickly consume a snack then were up again.
But at the far end of the boardwalk I came across a male Southern Hawker which looked like tiring and was buzzing along the thick wall of reeds looking for somewhere to perch.
I waited patiently and sure enough he eventually settled on the tall reeds, giving me opportunity to rattle off some shots before a second male came along and the inevitable skirmish took them both away.
|Southern Hawker (male) record shot before I closed in|
|Managed to move round without disturbing him and get a better angle with the sun behind me,|
then used the softly softly approach to get a few close-ups
|Overall quite pleased with those. Unlike the Migrants, he allowed me to get close and probably|
would have got closer still if the second male hadn't come on the scene.
Not my target species but with time getting on at least I had something to show from my visit.
I made my way back along the boardwalk though fearing my last chance of getting a decent Mig shot was over. Then as I approached the open pool I got a view of my first female of the day as she zipped low across the water to the nearside, and I retraced my steps to see if she had stopped to oviposit in the reeds but lost sight of her.
I couldn't relocate her but as if by fate I stumbled across a settled male lower down in the reeds and prayed he would stay still 'til I could get near enough for some decent shots. I didn't want to get too close as I feared putting him up again as they had all been a bit flighty in the afternoon sunshine, but luckily this one stayed put long enough for me to end the session on a high, eventually allowing closer shots than had been possible with my previous 'models' :
|Migrant Hawker (male)|
Luckily I was able to move round to get him against a dark patch in the thick vegetation for a better shot.
|Changed the angle slightly as I attempted to move in|
|Bingo! A nice close-up at last|