The Usual Suspects

Wednesday 23rd September

Some of you may be aware a certain newspaper (sic) predicted an ‘Indian Summer’ starting this coming weekend. The met office and BBC weather reports appear to have caught up, reporting a swathe of high pressure promising plenty of sunshine with a get-out clause.

Temperatures aren’t going to miraculously rise into the mid-twenties. The best we could hope for is perhaps twenty as a maximum provided their is continuous sunshine. With high pressure come colder nights, which means it’ll take a good while for temperatures to rise sufficiently, and if there is a greater ratio of cloud to sun they’ll stall, or even drop.

What we shouldn’t expect is a new phase of dragonfly swarms; just the usual suspects encountered late in the season. The best we can hope for is an extension with days at the pond being more satisfying than of late. Just because the sun’s shining outside my window as I write doesn’t mean I’m going to sally forth with delayed enthusiasm.

Wednesday was an exception, with enough sunshine throughout the morning to raise the temperatures enough to bring the dragonflies out for a feed before the clouds rolled in. A two hour jaunt around Swanwick Nature reserve before lunch was just enough.

The dipping pond is too small for a long wait, but nevertheless provided a male Migrant to start the day. Raised from his rest, he took a few tentative flights around the pond and along the track before returning to perch and warm up.

Migrant Hawker - male
Migrant Hawker – male

The appearance of another took them off for a dispute far out of reach so I continued around the reserve on my usual route, albeit reversed to experience the fishing lakes later.

The cattle have now been introduced to the quadrant which means negotiating piles of waste underfoot. Mixed with saturated ground this isn’t a pleasurable experience, but I persevered to the dog pond at the far end of the reserve catching sight of the odd Common Darter.

Another spooked Migrant along the path on the way back to the fishing lake where a tussle was going on along the shore between a male Common Darter and a mating pair.Enough to keep me amused for a short while.

Common Darter - male
Common Darter – male

Back at the dipping pond there were a few more Common Darters than earlier and even the odd nervous Ruddy. Just as I was contemplating calling it a day a male Southern Hawker took up residence.

Southern Hawker  - male in-flight
Southern Hawker – male in-flight

I couldn’t possibly resist! After all this was the very same pond which began my love of in-flight photography six years ago, almost to the day. At the time it was the only option of getting a shot as he wouldn’t cease patrolling, and little did I know it would lead to my favourite waste of time.

Southern Hawker  - male in-flight
Southern Hawker – male in-flight

This brief encounter ended up giving me my best Southern Hawker shot of the season.

Southern Hawker  - male in-flight
Southern Hawker – male in-flight

Or should I say so far?