Messingham nature reserve, Wednesday 11th July 2012

July 14, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

With the promise of some half decent weather a trip to the local patch Messingham today. I couldn't get there until mid morning as I had some other business to attend to first. As I arrived at Messingham I bumped into a good friend Mark. It was good to have a chat and catch up on things.

The weather wasn't quite as good as promised, however it was the best day of the week so far with a little sunshine but also some dark clouds gathering above. I decided to use the Sigma 150mm on the tripod today. As Mark and I made our way into the first meadow area the first thing I spotted was a Brown Hawker dragonfly. It was perched in a very awkward position to set the tripod up as it was in long grass, nettles and bramble briar's. I knew if I attempted to set up with the tripod it would inevitably move the vegetation and scare it off so I decided not to try and called Mark over to get some shots as Mark was hand holding his rig and would stand a much better chance of getting a shot. Mark did get his shots before it took flight. There were the usual Common and Blue-tailed damselflies in the meadow and a few Ringlet and Meadow Brown butterflies but that was about it.

Mark and I continued along the path through the reserve to the spot where I had seen good numbers of Emerald damselflies on my previous visit. The Emeralds were still around and we both managed some nice shots although most of the Emerald's were females or very immature males.

Female Emerald damselfly

Female Emerald Damselfly Emerald damselfly female - Lestes sponsa Mark and I spent around thirty minutes in this area photographing and observing these beautiful damsels. We then continued our walk eventually reaching the heather meadow. Not a lot to be seen in the heather meadow today, although to be fair the skies had darkened and rain was looming. You do need the sun to get the insects on the move. In cool and overcast conditions like it had now become, the insects just seem to vanish, can't say as I blame them though.

I left Mark in the heather meadow and continued along the path between the lakes. I was hoping I might find a Southern or Brown Hawker perched up but there was no sign of any today. I reached the small meadow area adjacent to the duck hide when the heavens opened. I quickly took shelter in the duck hide. After around half an hour the rain stopped, the skies cleared and a rare sight was seen, the sun came out Lol.

The rain had obviously made things very wet and it wasn't long before I was soaked from the knees downwards from the wet grass. I did however find a few male Emerald damselflies in this area. With the sun out and the temperature higher they were very flighty and it took me a good hour and all my field craft skills to get near enough them for any decent photographs. I love the colouring of the males especially as they fully mature and develop a steely blue eye. The one below hasn't developed the full eye colour yet. I also like the large raindrop I have managed to capture with this one as well.

Male Emerald damselfly

Male Emerald Damselfly Emerald damselfly male - Lestes sponsa It was lunch time already and I sat on the bench in this area using my camera plastic wet cover on the bench as the bench was rather wet. As I ate lunch a Southern Hawker came and started patrolling the meadow but after around ten minutes it decided to move on without settling at all so no photographs. I decided against walking through the wooded area as the skies had become overcast again so I retraced my steps slowly back towards the heather meadow. Just as I entered the heather meadow a Common Darter dragonfly was seen to land on a heather shrub. As I carefully approached, it took flight and seemed to land fairly high up in a Silver Birch tree never to be seen again. Second Common Darter of the season and no photograph. As I walked through the meadow I spotted a Skipper butterfly perched up. I thought at first it was a Large Skipper but once I got the camera focussed on it I could see it was a Small Skipper. Not my lucky day today because just as I was about to press the shutter button on the camera it took flight and I lost track of it. I was even more convinced my luck wasn't in today when the same thing happened with a Comma butterfly.

I slowly made my way back to the car and could feel the odd spot of rain falling but the skies didn't look too bad so I stopped and took a few more photographs of the Emerald damselflies.

Female Emerald damselfly

Emerald damselfly female - Lestes sponsa

Although the only photographs I got today were of Emerald damselflies I still enjoyed the day. It had been great catching up with Mark and I was well pleased with how the shots of the Emerald's had turned out. As the weather is at the moment it's a case of snatching an hour or two out when we can.


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