On Tuesday and Thursday of last week I visited a reliable site for Brown Hawkers, high on my list and a species I had yet to see let alone photograph. The good news is I finally got to see them in all there majesty. A fabulous beast in flight, but an absolute nightmare to photograph!
On the way there Tuesday I popped in to Ramsdown Forest for a quick visit to see if there were any Scarce Chasers still around. One female was spotted and photographed.
There were a few Golden-ringed’s about and I was disappointed to disturb a mating pair. However I did manage a shot of a Common Darter and a perched Male Emperor
As activity was minimal I continued to Alder Hills where I was greeted by male Emperors patrolling the banks along with male Scarce Chasers and feeding Blue-tails in the bank-side foliage.
Once I reached the pond I was rewarded with my first sightings of the Brown Hawker, two flying over the water and I did manage a rather poor in-flight shot which would prove to be my only record
As the day cooled with a little cloud cover their activity on the pond ceased, so I searched the surrounding heath for perched individuals. I found four, but annoyingly didn’t notice them until the last moment when they took flight over the trees – a reaction which would repeat itself on many future occasions. I did console myself with a shot or two of perched Scarce Chasers and a welcome discovery of a young male Southern Hawker which was far more willing to be photographed.
The return visit on Thursday proved to be even more disappointing and a more than a tad hazardous, the concentration of heather and young gorse among the heath proving dangerous underfoot after a wet night. It wasn’t long before I took the first of two falls into the undergrowth and managed to collect more than my fair share of nasty scratches and bruises.
Those Brown Hawkers weren’t going to give themselves up easily. Another four missed opportunities and on returning home I noticed that I had caused some muscular damage in my left knee which would put me out of action for the next few days. The only consolations being my first shot of a fox (a cub) and a close shot of a Heron, along with a few more Scarce Chasers and a Golden-ringed.
So the hunt is still on and as soon as I am fit enough I will be returning to the hazards of Alder Gully where I will eventually bag my prize…