Another visit to my local patch, Messingham. Messingham really is a cracking reserve at this time of the year and it's on my doorstep. I never tire of Messingham. Ok much of the stuff at Messingham I have photographed in previous years but I am always out to improve on my photography and you never know what might turn up.
I decided to use the Canon 100mm F2.8 IS macro lens today. This time I put the 580EX11 speedlite flash and diffuser on. I wanted to try and get used to hand holding this rig with the extra weight the flash and diffuser would give me.
I didn't arrive particularly early, it was around 08:50 as I drew in to the car park. It was reasonably warm and although there was quite a lot of cloud It was getting brighter by the minute and it wasn't long before the sun broke through. Despite the warmth there was nothing much showing in the first meadow. I did disturb a Brown Hawker dragonfly. I wish I could spot them as easily as they seem able to spot me.
As I continued along the path through the reserve I did see a nicely coloured up male Ruddy Darter dragonfly. Despite several attempts at approaching it to get a photograph I didn't succeed and it eventually flew off not to be seen again. There were several Common Darter dragonflies on the wing but I didn't manage any shots of them either. I was no more successful in the heather meadow, everything I saw was very flighty. It wasn't until I reached the path that takes you down towards the wader hide that I managed to get my first photo of the day. A nice Common Darter. In contrast to the ones seen earlier this one was most obliging.
Common Darter dragonfly
I walked down to the wader hide, something I haven't done in a while. I saw a Southern Hawker and a Brown Hawker dragonfly but they weren't hanging around for photographs. I retraced my steps back to the main path and headed for the wooded area. In the wooded area I found several Emerald damselflies along with the Common Blue and Blue-tailed damselflies. The Emeralds were particularly obliging giving me great photo opportunities.
Male Emerald damselfly
Gatekeeper Ringlet, Green-viened White and Meadow Brown butterflies were also present in good numbers. A Southern Hawker dragonfly kept teasing me by momentarily perching before taking off again. When it did finally perch up for any length of time it decided to do so in the most inaccessible spot it could find. I would have had to wade through bramble briar's and nettles waist high to have stood a chance of getting a photograph. I think it was trying to tell me it didn't want it's photograph taken Lol.
Lunch time was upon me already so it was on to the bench for a sandwich and a drink. After lunch I decided to see if I could spot any lizard's. It must have been my lucky day because I saw seven individuals at five different locations on the reserve. In a couple of the locations I managed to see two together. Lizards vary greatly in colouration and I saw a lovely darkish green one but unfortunately it was rather camera shy. I did get photographs of several others though.
While I was photographing one of the lizard's a grasshopper decide to hop onto the post the lizard was on. As the grasshopper moved closer to the lizard I thought the lizard might actually catch and eat it, but it showed no interest in the grasshopper at all. It either wasn't hungry or grasshopper's aren't a lizard's idea of a meal. It did however give me a great opportunity to get a nice close up shot of the grasshopper.
Common Green Grasshopper
I knew time must be getting on but I was amazed when I checked my watch to find it was 15:30 I had been that engrossed in my photography that I had lost all sense of time. I made my way back to the car park and on the way saw a Comma butterfly perched on a reed stem. I thought that's not going to sit there while I get a photograph but to my surprise it did. Most cooperative insect I had seen all day.
What a super day I had. Practically seven hours spent at Messingham today. I have said it before and will probably say it again, but having a local patch that you visit as often as I visit Messingham pays dividends. You get to know the place like the back of your hand, and where the best spots are at certain times of the day to find certain subjects. As my wife says, my second home, Lol.