Another visit to my local patch Messingham today. It was dull and very overcast first thing so I didn't bother getting off early, deciding to wait a while to see if it brightened up at all. By 11:00 it looked slightly better so I got the gear together and arrived at Messingham about 11:30. Although it was fairly dull I decided to use the Canon 100mm hand held. I didn't fit the flash and diffuser to the camera as I have mentioned before it does tend to make it a bit top heavy for hand holding. I figured if I needed any flash I would just use the built in pop up flash on the camera. I need the practice of hand holding the 100mm anyway.
The first meadow nearest the car park revealed two Brown Hawker dragonflies that I couldn't get anywhere near plus the usual Common Blue and Blue-tailed damselflies. Ringlet and Meadow Brown butterflies were also present as was a single Gatekeeper butterfly that I tried for a shot of with no success. I carried on to the area where the Emerald damselflies seem to be most numerous and although I have plenty of good shots of them already I can never resist taking a few more of this cracking little damselfly.
Male Emerald damselfly
It was in this area that I bumped into a fellow photographer Steve Routledge. Steve is very knowledgeable on all aspects of wildlife and it's always a pleasure talking to Steve. I spent around fifteen minutes chatting to Steve before moving on towards the heather meadow area. In this meadow I managed a shot of a Gatekeeper butterfly, my first of the season. There were also several Brown Hawker dragonflies patrolling the meadow and a single Common Darter dragonfly.
I decided to take a look on the boundary path of the reserve that runs alongside the heather meadow, often a favourite haunt of Southern and Brown Hawker dragonflies. I didn't see any but I did spot a Common Lizard climbing up a small Gorse bush and managed a couple of quick shots before it realised I was there and quickly disappeared back into the base of the bush.
The path between the two lakes saw good numbers of Common and Blue-tailed damselflies, a couple of Emerald damselflies and a Southern Hawker dragonfly. None presented any photo opportunities though. The small meadow in front of the duck hide saw more Emeralds and a few Meadow Brown and Ringlet butterflies.
I continued to the path that turns sharp right towards the wader hide, here sat on one of the way marker posts was a Common Lizard. However it soon scuttled off into the long grass and despite me waiting a good fifteen minutes never showed again. As I continued up the path towards the wader hide a movement at the base of a fence post caught my eye. It was another Common Lizard. I very cautiously moved closer to get a photograph and to my surprise this one seemed to totally ignore me. It began walking along one of the bracing posts to the main fence post giving me superb views and photographic opportunities. I said in a previous post that I didn't know how people managed to get photographs of these great little reptiles, well, you just get lucky some days.
I spent a good half hour observing and photographing this Lizard. I was joined by Steve who informed me it was a female. Steve also got photographs as well. One of the best half hours I have spent at Messingham in a long while. They really are super little reptiles.
Time was getting on and I didn't want to be to late home as I had some other business to attend to so I began to make my way back to the car. In the heather meadow I managed to photograph a Common Darter, my first of the season. Steve joined me in the meadow and as I was about to leave the meadow Steve called me over. Steve had found a lovely little Forest bug in a nice position to photograph. Thanks for that one Steve.
By now I was running late so had to quickly make my way back to the car forcing myself not to stop at anything that I might see. My local patch had once again come up with the goods even on a not too good a day weather wise. I was well pleased with the images I got today especially as they were all hand held with the Canon 100mm lens. I finish this post with a portrait of the super little Lizard.