A decent day weather wise so another trip to the local patch, Messingham. Fairly good light although it was a bit breezy so I decided to use the Canon 100mm lens hand held today. Sometimes I just don't feel like lugging a tripod about for four or five hours.
The first meadow area was sheltered from the wind and there were all the usual butterflies and damselflies on the wing. The first subject that sat still long enough for me was a lovely Comma butterfly in pristine condition, and as a bonus it was in a decent position to get a nicely blurred background.
I had only been in the meadow a few minutes when an old friend of mine Ben Revell turned up. It was good to see Ben and catch up on things and we spent the morning together photographing and talking. Must say I think we did more talking than photographing, Lol. We made our way slowly round the reserve taking a few photographs as we went. Brown Hawker dragonflies were seen in good numbers but as usual for them they weren't hanging around for photographs. Just before we reached the heather meadow we spotted a Southern Hawker dragonfly that landed and posed nicely for a few photographs.
We then made our way into the meadow. There were several Common Darter dragonflies in the meadow living up to the name of darter by quickly darting from one spot to another, never staying in one place long enough to get a photograph. Small and large Skipper butterflies were also seen in good numbers but the Small Skippper's in particular were very lively. Along the path that runs between the two lakes I managed a nice photograph of a female Emerald damselfly. There didn't seem to be so many Emerald damselflies about as on previous visits.
In the small meadow in front of the duck hide I found a female Ruddy darter that posed very nicely. Female Ruddy Darters are often mistaken for Common Darters being very similarly coloured. The sure way of distinguishing between the two is that the Ruddy Darter has all black legs, whereas the Common Darter has a pale creamy coloured stripe on the leg. There are other distinguishing features but I always find the leg colour to be the most reliable method of separating the two species.
Female Ruddy Darter
After a break for refreshments on the bench at the side of the meadow we carried on to where I had excellent views and photographs of a Common Lizard on my last visit to the reserve. No luck today though, we saw no sign of any. We continued our walk which took us into the wooded area. We sat on a bench for a well earned rest and to eat our lunch. After our lunch we looked in the more open areas of the woods that are always favourite haunts of the dragonflies, in particular the darters. Several Common darters were seen and they were quite happy to pose for photographs.
We spent a good half hour photographing the darters before making our way back towards the car park. One full circuit of the reserve completed and a few nice photographs taken. We decided as the weather was so good to stay a while and see what else we could find so another circuit of the reserve was started. When we reached the heather meadow I left Ben engrossed in photographing hover flies I believe and made my way towards the duck hide. I saw several more Brown Hawker dragonflies and a Southern Hawker but none that I managed to photograph. I decided to have another look to see if any Common Lizards were basking in the sun, but no luck on that. I did however find a very nice Drinker moth that allowed good photographic opportunities.
The time was getting on for 14:00 by now and I didn't want to be too late back as like most people I do have other things that need attending to as well, so I made my way back to the car. As I did so I bumped in to another good friend David Newby. After chatting a while we made arrangements for a day out together on Thursday, but that's the subject for another blog post. Lol. Another excellent few hours on the local patch made all the better by the company of Ben today.