Another wet start to the day, however by around 10:30 things brightened up so it was off to Messingham for a few hours. It was warm with good sunny spells when I arrived. Once again I decided to hand hold the Canon 100mm lens with the flash and diffuser mounted. I'm starting to love this cracking little lens and am growing more confident of my ability to hand hold it at low shutter speeds. I'm certainly getting more photo opportunities with it than I do with the Sigma 150mm and tripod. That's not to say the 150mm isn't a good lens, it is, and for situations where a tripod is needed it can't be beaten.
A look in the first meadow soon revealed that Peacock butterflies were going to be the most numerous of the butterflies on the wing today. A male Migrant Hawker was found perched fairly high up on a reed stem. I tried for a photograph with no success as the wind was waving the reed stem about a lot and all I got was a couple of very blurred shots. It was good to see Ruddy Darter dragonflies present in good numbers. The males are stunning little dragonflies but very flighty and it took me quite a while to get a photograph of a male that I was happy with.
Male Ruddy Darter
Just after leaving the first meadow I came across a Holly Blue butterfly feeding on a Hemp Agrimony plant. This is the only Holly Blue I have seen this year. They are never common at Messingham but I usually see three or four during the season. Although I tried for a photo I failed, mainly due to the fact that it just would not sit still long enough before moving to another flower. Eventually it soared off up high into the tree tops and despite waiting around I never saw it anymore.
Brown Hawker dragonflies were about in very good numbers but as usual they weren't hanging around for a photo shoot. There were a few Common Darter dragonflies about but not as many as I would have expected for the time of year and the conditions today. I did manage a nice shot of one though despite the wind being a nuisance.
The lizard's were showing pretty well today with a total of six individuals seen at various points around the reserve including a baby one no more than an inch long. Entering the wooded area the Brimstone butterflies were very active feeding on the Purple Loosestrife flowers. Brown Hawker and Southern Hawker dragonflies were also seen in the woods. I completed my first circuit of the reserve by lunch time and had a pleasant half hour sat on one of the numerous benches to eat my lunch.
I started another circuit of the reserve after lunch hoping I might see more Migrant Hawker dragonflies but was out of luck. I did see a pair of Ruddy Darter dragonflies locked together in the mating wheel position, but unfortunately they didn't present any photo opportunities. The only other photographs I managed were of Ruddy and Common Darter dragonflies
Male Ruddy Darter
It was still good to have managed to get the shots I did. The weather forecast had been poor for today and I hadn't expected to get out at all, so as far as I was concerned today was a bonus and Messingham yet again had given me a very pleasant few hours.