A morning visit to the local patch today. The weather was pretty decent with good sunny spells. I arrived at Messingham at 08:30 and was a bit surprised to find I was the only one there, no other cars in the car park. Generally by this time of day there are always one or two other visitors.
I decided to use the Canon 100mm lens hand held with the speedlite flash and diffuser. I am beginning to change my opinion a little on this lens. When I first started to hand hold it I was a little disappointed with the amount of blurred images I was getting. This was down to camera movement causing motion blur. However, with practice I am finding I can now hand hold this lens and get sharp images from it down to 1/50 of a second shutter speed. The detail in my opinion is just that touch better than the Sigma 150mm although you do have to get a little closer to the subject to achieve this.
Photographic subjects were in short supply for the first hour and although I saw plenty of dragons and damsels in the first meadow none presented any photographic opportunities. There were a couple of Brown Hawkers and a Southern Hawker but the brown's were as usual having none of it and the southern wasn't any better either. There were the usual butterflies, the ringlet's and meadow brown's are now looking most tatty, coming to the end of their life span. Even some of the Gatekeepers are beginning to look shabby. I saw a few Emerald damselflies along the paths and a couple of darters.
The first photograph today was a Common Lizard. This one was climbing up one of the way marker posts. Just goes to show how well they can climb because this is a very smooth post. I actually saw six lizards today and more photographs of them can be seen on the web site.
After a short break for a drink I continued my walk taking the path towards the wader hide. There are quite a few Hemp agrimony plants growing along this path and they are always a favourite with the butterflies. I managed to get a nice shot of a Small Tortioseshell butterfly. These butterflies used to be very common but I have seen very few of late so was quite pleased to see this one.
Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
Retracing my steps back to the main path I continued into the woods. Here Emerald, Common Blue and Blue-tailed damselflies were seen in good numbers. Butterflies were about with gatekeeper's being the most common. Common darter and Ruddy darter were also seen. The male Ruddy Darter is a striking insect with it's dark red abdomen and I managed a nice if somewhat distant shot of one.
Male Ruddy Darter
A couple of Southern Hawkers were patrolling the woodland path as well as a Brown Hawker. I watched these for around fifteen minutes before one of the Southern hawker's decided to perch up giving me a nice photo opportunity.
I continued back to the car where I ate my lunch. After lunch I did another quick circuit of the reserve. The Lizards were showing well and I took a few more photographs of them and some Common darter's before making my way back to the car to go home. I do hope those of you who read this blog don't get fed up of reading about my visits to Messingham. I spend so much time here because it's a fantastic place with a great variety of insects and is practically on my door step. With the price of fuel for the car nowadays, this is something I have to consider as well.