After the disaster of the previous posting and armed with a new camera body, in much the same way as a rider would jump straight back on the horse after a fall, I revisited the spot where my previous camera shutter failed.
I was surprised and a little overjoyed to find the same male Southern Hawker patrolling the small pond, occasionally flying up to do battle with an incoming female.
It was the perfect opportunity to try out the new camera, if a little challenging due to my quarry’s penchant for erratic flight patterns and refusal to hover.
Nevertheless I persisted and managed a few in-flight as well as one perched
Satisfied with an opportunity to christen the new camera on my favourite subject, I continued on with my partner to pursue our other main activity of that day – the gathering of Autumn’s harvest of fruit and fungi.
However while picking sloes and blackberries I spied another male Southern Hawker which we’d obviously disturbed from his roost. He was reluctant to travel far given the hour and temperature, so once again I had a perfect opportunity for some perched shots.
He looked magnificent against the golden ferns and the relative gloom meant I had to use a little fill-flash
So intent was he on resting up for the day, I even managed to get in close
The next time I ventured out was the 7th October. I decided to explore a small area around Holmsley which is riddled with small ponds surrounding a small stream. I didn’t expect to find anything around the ponds, but did see a few Common Darters enjoying the brief sunny intervals.
It was on the walk back where I encountered a male Southern Hawker resting in the foliage
With an hour or so left I decided to pay a visit to Pennington just in case, and was rewarded with a Male Migrant Hawker and the odd Common Darter
I did call into Crockford Stream on the way back and didn’t expect to find anything, but there was a single male Southern briefly flying over the stream.
On Sunday 10th I revisited a private area where I met the landowner! Unperturbed, I introduced myself and told him what I was doing on his land and if there was a chance I could continue to observe and photograph the wonderful selection of wildlife with his permission.
For someone who had encountered a trespasser, he was very obliging and gave permission to carry on as he was also a wildlife enthusiast. He was at that time rehousing a selection of the reptiles on site.
For once I explored the area without the nagging doubt that I would get a tap on the shoulder, have the dogs set on me or shot at!
As regards dragons, there were a few Common Darters to be seen, along with a couple of male Southern Hawkers.
The following Monday was chilly, yet bright with some warming intervals of sunshine, so I ventured out yet again to Pennington with a main objective of encountering some Kingfishers. Alas no luck, but there were a few Common Darters, a couple of male Migrant Hawkers and surpringly a lone male Blue-tailed Damselfly looking ragged but holding on
As with last year around this time I realise that the usual hot-spots rarely deliver and most sightings tend to be around the heaths and along the rides. This has once again proved to be the case and during the colder days when I’ve had a chance to venture out I’ve come across the odd wayward Common Darter and Southern Hawker, the last being last Friday 22nd.
This is usually the time of year I spend exploring new prospective areas in and around the forest ready for next spring, and I’m hoping that during one of these forays I’ll come across a dragon or two before they disappear completely.