With the weather forecast predicting a good day I decided on Friday evening the 27th July to visit my favourite local patch Messingham on Saturday the 28th July. I had intended being at Messingham no later than 07:30, but things didn't quite go as planned as I overslept. This is most unusual for me as I normally don't even need an alarm to get me up. Anyway instead of arriving at Messingham at 07:30 as planned it was actually 09:00 before I got there. I hate being late up, seems to throw me out for the rest of the day.
I decided to use the Canon 100mm F2.8 IS lens today hand held. I didn't bother mounting the speedlite flash either thinking if I needed flash at all I would just use the on board pop up flash. There were the usual subjects in the first meadow including a couple of Common Darters. The one below that I photographed has a very bent body. Guess this was a result of some kind of deformity as it was emerging. It didn't seem to hinder it in any way but I did wonder if mating would be a problem for it.
Common Darter with a bent abdomen
After my time spent in the first meadow I decided to go round the reserve in the opposite direction to my normal route, entering the woodland first rather than last. Butterflies were in short supply. There were a few Meadow Brown, Ringlets, Gatekeeper and Green-viened White. Many of the Meadow Brown and Ringlet are now beginning to show there age looking quite tatty. A couple of Southern Hawker and one Brown Hawker dragonfly were patrolling the woodland ride but none of them were posing for photographs. Also saw a couple of Ruddy Darters in the woods. Many people mistake the female Ruddy Darter for a Common Darter. Best way to tell for identification purposes is that the Ruddy Darter has all black legs and the Common Darter has a pale creamy stripe on the leg. This is easy to see in the photographs here.
Female Ruddy Darter
I continued my walk to the area where I thought I might see a Common Lizard. No Lizard this time though. I also bumped into Mark a fellow photographer and friend so we continued our walk together before Mark had to leave at lunch time. Considering the weather which was pretty warm with decent sunny spells it was a little disappointing not to see more insects about. I had my lunch on one of the benches and after lunch decided to go check the area where I had seen the Common Lizard on a previous visit. My luck was in this time. A lizard was sat on a bracing post to an upright fence post. However, he/she must have sensed I was there as it quickly scuttled back down the post into the long grass. I sat very still patiently waiting for around fifteen minutes and it began to show again. This time it didn't seem to mind my presence or realised I was no threat to it and walked further up the post to bask in the sun giving me excellent views and photographic opportunities not flinching at all as the camera shutter clicked again and again. What super little reptiles they are.
I slowly made my way back to the car, elated to have seen this Lizard at such close quarters in it's natural environment and also at being able to get such great photographs of it without disturbing it. Lizards are protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
I saw a few more Brown Hawker Dragonflies and a couple of Common Darters in the heather meadow on my walk back to the car. There were also quite a few Small Skipper butterflies in the meadow but they were very flighty. A super five hours on my local patch again.