The Virtue of Patience

When I first got into dragonflies (and butterflies for that matter) I used to wizz around hunting them down, tiring myself out in the process and probably missing more in the process.

I used to get extremely bored staying put at a water body under gloomy skies when nothing was happening. As of this season I’ve learned to stay put in changeable conditions because when the sun does break through everything changes.

A perfect example of this was last Thursday. It wasn’t the type of day I’d normally choose to travel for dragonflies, but as I had to drop Sue off at Gillingham in North Dorset, the extra 30 miles to Priddy Mineries seemed worthwhile.

I arrived at 9.00am under gloomy skies with a fair breeze, but it didn’t take long for the sun to briefly break through an activity to begin with a couple of Moorland and a few Migrant Hawkers.

Migrant Hawker - male
Migrant Hawker – male

During the cloudier moments I did a little reconnaissance while keeping an eye on the wide-open skies for the next belt of blue, but for the next hour or so it didn’t look too promising.

At around midday Mike and Jerry arrived and were convinced today was not going to be a Priddy day, and instead decided Westhay would be the better option.

We arrived in time for the first shower, and the wind was noticeably stronger. After sheltering the worst in the bird hide, we took a ramble up the path disturbing the odd Common and Ruddy Darter, but it was a while before we found the Migrant Hawkers, in good numbers along the back track.

Migrant Hawker - male
Migrant Hawker – male

A brief lunch stop at the North Hide before retracing our steps, detouring along the far track for another opportunity.

Migrant Hawker - male
Migrant Hawker – male

If I’m honest I was getting a tad bored with Migrants, as beautiful as they are, and was grateful for a change of species, and a Ruddy (found by Mike) provided a welcome opportunity.

Ruddy Darter - male
Ruddy Darter – male

We did have a male Southern Hawker on the way out who didn’t stay around to be photographed, and unsurprisingly more Migrants, and decided to wrap up at 3.30pm.

During our walk around the site I couldn’t help wondering what was happening at Priddy, especially as you could see the weather over the hills from our valley position. I decided to call in on my way home and sure enough, despite the cloud cover, there were several Moorland Hawkers patrolling the far bank.

Moorland (Common) Hawker - male
Moorland (Common) Hawker – male

There were also a couple of females choosing to oviposit deep in the reeds beyond their (and my) reach. I stayed until the last one left at around 5.00pm and vowed to stay put on my next visit.