Saturday and Sunday the 11th and 12th August saw me making visits to Messingham nature reserve. Rather than two separate posts I have combined the two visits into one post.
Saturday's forecast was for good sunny spells which did materialise but much later in the day than forecast. I arrived at Messingham on the Saturday at 08:00. It was overcast but with the sun threatening to shine. Once again I chose the Canon 100m lens with the speedlite flash and diffuser mounted. It's so good to be able to walk around without the burden and extra weight of the tripod that I need if I use the Sigma 150mm.
The first insect to be seen in the meadow near the car park was a Brown hawker and it was perched up. I very carefully approached it but just as I got within shooting range it did the typical Brown hawker trick and flew off. They are such wary insects and just will not tolerate being approached closely.
Common Blue and Blue-tailed damselflies were about although I did notice that numbers are now decreasing, a sure sign that the macro season is soon coming to an end. Making my way out of the meadow and along the path I disturbed another Brown hawker. A Migrant hawker was also patrolling this path and fortunately it perched in a spot that allowed me a photograph. It's good to see the Migrant hawker but sad in a way as it signals the macro season is coming to a close. The Migrant hawker is the last of our dragonflies to emerge.
As I made my way around the reserve it was very evident that the most numerous butterfly on the reserve was the Peacock. I aren't into number counting but I would guess that I saw at least a hundred individuals throughout the day. The Buddleia bush situated along the path between the two lakes held no less than forty eight of these beautiful butterflies. As I stood watching them on the bush a Southern hawker very obligingly perched up on the gorse bush just opposite me. I don't like taking photos with gorse as a background but this one worked out ok.
Continuing towards the duck hide nothing much else was seen. The small meadow in front of the duck hide revealed a couple of Common darter that were very flighty. A Ruddy darter was a little more cooperative though. These will often take flight when approached but very shortly return to the same perch as this one did.
The lizards were showing well and I counted seven individuals today. In the woods Brimstone butterflies were on the wing. These are the second brood of the year and again another sign of the macro season coming to an end for me. The Brimstone's love the Purple Loosestrife flowers that are abundant in the woods. They make most photogenic subjects with the contrasting deep purple Loosestrife and the creamy/green butterfly.
Brimstone feeding on Purple Loosestrife
More Common and Ruddy darters, Brown hawker and Southern hawker dragonflies were seen in the woods. I had my lunch on the bench in the woods. Always a pleasant place to eat as you can sit and watch the dragons and butterflies go about their business as you relax with your lunch. I didn't stay long after lunch as it was very warm and the heat was getting to me a little, also everything had become very lively since about midday making it difficult to get photographs.
Sunday saw me arriving at Messingham a little later than I would normally have done in fact it was 09:30 before I arrived. (I do have a lie in now and then) I didn't intend staying more than a couple of hours as I wanted to get back and catch up with a few outstanding jobs at home. However my couple of hours soon turned into four hours, Lol. It was a warm day again with good sunny spells so again I chose the Canon 100mm lens.
It was pretty quiet on the insect side, or as far as photographing them was concerned and my first photograph was of a Common darter in the woods.
There were Ruddy darter, Brown and Southern hawker in the woods but all very flighty. Brimstone butterflies were also busy on the Purple Loosestrife again. A Longhorn beetle was found and although these can fly it rather obligingly climbed to the top of a plant stem where it gave good photographic opportunities.
From the woods I made my way around the reserve to the area where the lizards can often be found. I only saw the one but it was sat on top of a post so I took what I would call a natural habitat shot rather than a close up.
Peacock butterflies were once again the most numerous butterfly on the reserve. It was also pleasing to see good numbers of Ruddy darter's. The male of this species is a stunning little insect with his ruby red eyes and near blood red abdomen.
Male Ruddy darter
I hadn't taken any lunch today only a drink and it was now 13:30 and my stomach was reminding me it was empty. Time to make my way home. Another two visits to this cracking reserve resulting in some great images and sights.