Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Norfolk Day 1 - Geldeston Dragons

The first two days of this visit were to be insect orientated and I was hitting the deep South of the County on the Suffolk border with Dragonflies in mind. The River Waveney here is a well know Odonata ‘hotspot’ and the main target species was Scarce Chaser with hopes of Norfolk Hawker.

I satnavved my way to the Locks Inn public house, an idyllic setting and ventured over the footbridge onto the banks of the Waveney.

There were a good number of blue Damselflies: mostly Azure and Blue-tailed with plenty of Banded Demoiselles on the wing

After a few minutes, the clatter of wings in the bankside vegetation alerted me to a much larger species – the large orange-brown abdomen alerting me to the first Scarce Chaser of the day, an emergent female! I got a few shots as she rested in the tangled vegetation......

Suddenly (and I hadn’t been aware of them) as she flew off, males came dashing in from all directions with one thing on their minds! Give the girl a chance, she’s only just woken up! It took a bit of effort but she managed to escape their clutches and fly over the river!

I now had my eye in and had spotted the territorial perches for one or two males! They were hard work, easily spooked but by sitting quietly and waiting, they would return to their chosen spots!

Immature male Scarce Chasers still have some orange brown left on the abdomen.....

There were a few ditches running at right angles to but not connected to the river. Checking these out, I had a nice male Emperor Dragonfly (constantly flying as ever) plus Four-spotted Chaser.

Not every insect with a blue body is a Scarce Chaser, this Black-tailed Skimmer was on the wing!

A pair of clearly Hawker sized species then caught my eye 50m away – they went down but despite a search I couldn’t find them!

It took ages but eventually some movement caught my eye and there busy ovipositing in the bankside margin was a female Norfolk Hawker!! Interestingly, there was no Water Soldier I could see which is normally paramount for their egg laying!

The male then appeared from nowhere and perched up for me. Just as with the Chasers, use of the long lens kept me well distant and provided the only chance of images

Just look at those green eyes, easily noted from a distance when in flight!

The male started patrolling ther ditch once again and I tried my hand at getting a flight shot! Now there’s a challenge! By prefocussing and rapid manual adjustment, I actually got one or two keepers!

More resting shots

I spent nearly four hours on site and the long single location session was to become the theme for the week! By late afternoon I set off for Sutton and my hospitality for a couple of nights. An enormous pub lasagne enjoyed over a beer with my hosts.

The following day was to involve a search for that most splendid British butterfly – the Swallowtail. Finding them should not present too much of a problem but photographing them, now there’s the challenge…..

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