Wednesday 21st June

With the many reports of migrants entering the country over the last few weeks; Red-veined Darters and Lesser Emperors blown over from the continent with the current warm front, I would have been foolish to act on a report of both present at Longham Lakes on Tuesday.

I try to pay a visit every year or two if I have time and given good reason I headed out early to be greeted by a Red-veined Darter halfway around the lake. Skittish as usual I managed a record shot before carrying on to the group of eager twitchers who had also seen the report.

 Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) - male
Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) – male

After exchanging greetings and hearing reports that they think they’d had a sighting I carried on over the causeway intent on having a look at the small ponds where I know RVD have frequented regularly in hopes of getting a better opportunity, but it wasn’t to be. The most dominant species here and around the lakes were hundreds of Scarce Chasers.

Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva) - male
Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva) – male

Back at the throng there was still no news so I carried on a little further to where a (Blue) Emperor was patrolling, eager for a rest and a good drink in the increasing heat & humidity. Mid-swig I saw my quarry come in for a brief battle with the Emperor and return for more shortly afterwards. A couple of brief glimpses and I was surprisingly content.

Knowing I had a meeting after lunch I decided to take a slow walk back to the car when I bumped into Chris Dresh who was also here on the promise. I confirmed I had a couple of sightings and while he made his way to twitcher corner I continued my slow walk only to be halted immediately by the prize giving a good display over a small fishing stand.

Calling Chris over we watched and attempted some shots glorious in the long moment that was obviously just for us. After a marvelous display he disappeared out of site and we carried on walking in different directions until I looked back and noticed Chris and the group doing the dragonfly-dance.

About turn – I’d be foolish to leave now. Sure enough, when I rejoined the group there was the Lesser putting on an even better display than our earlier one. Magnificent, and unencumbered by the resident Emperor who had sodded off I presume for a siesta.

Eager shooting and this time I knew I had a shot in the bag.

Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) - male in-flight
Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) – male in-flight

Two, apparently.

Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) - male in-flight
Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) – male in-flight

As if this magnificent flying display wasn’t enough our merry migrant even perched among the reeds briefly.

Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) - male in-flight
Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) – male in-flight

Alas not close enough or long enough to get anything better, but I didn’t mind. For once a plan had born fruit, and when our prize left us I reluctantly called it a day. Duty called.