Messingham nature reserve, North Lincolnshire Friday 31st August 2012

September 02, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

A fine day with good sunny spells promised for the morning period at least, it was off to Messingham nature reserve again. I didn't arrive at Messingham until 09:40 as I had some other business to attend to first. It was as forecast with hardly a cloud in the sky, so the Canon 100mm and speedlite flash hand held was the choice today.

I thought with being a little late on arriving everything would be rather flighty as it had warmed up a lot from the fairly cold night we had experienced. There were plenty of hawker's and darter's in the first meadow but were they lively, the minute I approached any of them they were off. I carried on and it wasn't until I reached the heather meadow that I managed my first shot. A male Migrant Hawker was found perched on some gorse. I don't like gorse as a background as it generally looks unsightly and the insect is too near the background to blur it out nicely. However, as the saying goes, beggars cant be choosers so I had to do the best I could. Spot metering seemed the best option here as the gorse was actually dead or if not dead very brown looking. It didn't work out too bad.

Male Migrant Hawker

Male Migrant Hawker Migrant Hawker male - Aeshna mixta As I was photographing this one my phone went, it was my friend Mark who had just arrived and was asking whereabouts on the reserve I was. This hawker was very obliging even waiting for Mark to arrive and allowing him ample photo opportunities as well. The rest of the day was spent with Mark.

We saw a couple of Holly Blue butterflies but unfortunately we didn't manage any photographs of them. A Common Blue was also seen but again no photographs. Peacock butterflies were also present in good numbers and a few Small Copper as well. My next opportunity came with a Common Darter perched low down on a tree branch. Not the best of backgrounds and a difficult angle to get it at, but I was pleased with the result.

Common Darter

Common Darter Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum

The Lizards were not showing well at all with only one adult and a juvenile seen. It was noticeable how many Ruddy darter's there were about. These darters are incredibly difficult to get a photograph of. They love perching very low down and often on the ground and this makes it difficult to get a shot with a blurred background and they were also very flighty as well. It wasn't long before Mark and I had completed one circuit of the reserve with very few photographs taken.

After a quick bite to eat and to shed some clothes at the cars we set off on another circuit of the reserve. Again everything we saw, and we were seeing much more now was incredibly flighty and photo opportunities were few and far between. I think the number of Migrant hawker's has increased since my last visit and we saw several teneral (newly emerged insects). We saw Ruddy darter's mating, but were unlucky in the fact that they never landed anywhere where we could get a decent shot of them. A male Southern Hawker did allow us to approach for a few photographs before taking off, but the background on this one was not as good as I would have liked. I sound like a right moaner, but I am a bit of a perfectionist where my photography is concerned and the shots managed to date were far from perfect.

Male Southern Hawker

Male Southern Hawker Southern Hawker male - Aeshna cyanea It was very warm now and the Brimstone butterflies were out in fairly good numbers in the heather meadow so I decided to concentrate on getting a few shots of them. The Brimstone's were far more cooperative than the hawker's and darter's and I did get some very nice images of them. Maybe not quite perfect, Lol but pretty good by my own standards at least.

Brimstone butterfly

Brimstone butterfly Brimstone - Gonepteryx rhamni Mark and I carried on and although we saw lot's of hawker's and darter's they were no easier to photograph than earlier in the day. As we made our way back to our cars to go home we came across another pair of Ruddy darter's mating. Despite many attempts at a photograph of them in the wheel position (this is where the male and female clasp each other and form a wheel or near heart position) I didn't manage it. (moaning again) I did get a photograph of them in a what I call semi mating position.

Ruddy darter's

Ruddy darterRuddy Darters - Sympetrum sanguineum Despite it being a very difficult day photography wise I still enjoyed it. Part of the enjoyment is the challenge of getting a good photograph in difficult conditions, and although as said I might seem to be moaning a little I think I rose to the challenge today and pulled some difficult shots off. Just a little mention of my favourite people the weather forecaster's, they got it spot on today. Don't forget you can view many more shots from my various outings via the galleries on the main web site. Thanks to all of you who read these Blog pages.


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