Well I must be a glutton for punishment or soft in the head as I decided to brave the mosquitoes on Crowle Moor for the second time in under a week. (Soft in the head my wife reckons) My companion for today's visit to the moor was Mike Pickwell. Mike picked me up at 08:00 and we made the short journey to the moor arriving at 08:30.
It was overcast but the forecast was for good sunny periods, in fact it was more or less forecast to be clear skies all day. That was a laugh, apart from a couple of very brief sunny spells where if you blinked you would have missed them it remained overcast all the time we were on the moor. I decided to use the Sigma 150mm lens on the tripod today. Our intention was to put up some perches for the Black darter's. With the 150mm and tripod I would be able to set up and pre focus on a perch, then it would be a pretty easy task to get photographs.
The mosquitoes were as bad as we feared they would be and we were fending them off as we set up our gear before starting the fifteen minute walk across the moor to the spot we intended to photograph the Black darter dragonflies. Although as said it was overcast, there was no shortage of Emerald damselflies, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Skipper butterflies, all were present in good numbers.
Female Emerald Damselfly
We saw a few Black darters as we made our way across the moor, sticking to the way marked paths. I cannot emphasise more to anyone who reads this and is planning a trip to Crowle moor. You must stick to the paths. Although in places it may be possible to deviate from the way marked paths it is dangerous to do so.
We arrived at the area where we intended to put perches up for the Black darters. The reason for the perches was that with it being breezy it would be much easier to photograph them on a perch that was steady rather than grass stems that were blowing about in the wind. The sun was trying to break through but was having little success. We set the perches up but didn't have much look with any Black darters using them because with the weather being overcast we saw very few of them and what we did see were very much inclined to stay low down in the grasses.
We decided to walk a bit further along the path hoping we might come across an adder or grass snake. We did see a couple of adders but only fleeting glimpses as they slithered off at our approach. There were a few grasshoppers about and I had a brief view of a Bog-bush cricket, the first one I have seen on the moor this season. The odd Southern Hawker dragonfly was also seen but no photographic opportunities came our way.
Returning to the area that we had set up the perches it did turn brighter for about five minutes and during this short lived brighter spell a female Black darter used one of the perches. I took the opportunity to get a head on shot of her.
Female Black darter
The brief bright spell soon came to an end and the darters went to ground again. Odd times we would see one on the move but they weren't interested in our perches so we turned our attention to other subjects. The Skipper butterflies were feeding on thistle flowers giving some nice photo opportunities.
We wandered up and down the stretch of moor where our perches were set up taking photographs of anything that presented itself. By 14:00 we decided to call it a day. We had managed a few photographs of the Black darters but had been let down by the weather forecast. We slowly made our way back to the car, weary legged and bitten by many mosquitoes. The lengths we go to for a few photographs. Lol. We encountered many Emerald damselflies on our walk back to the car and I photographed a female at close quarters with some prey she was devouring.
Female Emerald damselfly with prey
We had not long left the moor on our journey home when we ran into sunshine. We could not have been more than five miles from the moor and the nearer to home we got the more sunshine we saw. We were informed by our wives that the sun had been shining on and off since mid morning at home. It's amazing how different the weather conditions can be just a few miles up the road. After our battle with the mosquitoes today I have doubts about visiting the moor again this season, but I guess when the bites have stopped itching and the swellings have gone I will be daft enough to go again before the season is out. No matter if I get the photos I am hoping for or not I always enjoy my days out with Mike and today was another enjoyable one despite the mosquitoes.