Another visit to Messingham nature reserve. I do hope you aren't getting fed up of reading about Messingham. I spend so much time there for a variety of reasons. It's very close to home for me, around fifteen miles, so if I go and don't get many photographs or the weather turns for the worse I haven't travelled far or wasted much fuel in the car. Also in my opinion there isn't another reserve in the area that has the variety of insects that Messingham has, certainly you would have to travel much farther than Messingham to find a place. Another reason, I simply like Messingham. There is always something to photograph on the insect side and I know the place so well.
Not an early start today arriving at Messingham at 09:00. It was a glorious morning if a little cool with clear blue skies. The Canon 100mm and speedlite flash hand held was my choice of equipment today. Entering the first meadow from the car park there were numerous Migrant hawkers already on the wing. I disturbed two female Migrant hawkers that were perched which I was quite annoyed with myself for doing so as I wanted a decent photograph of a female. The females are harder to come by than the males.
As I continued through the reserve I saw two more female Migrant hawkers on the wing and another perched up but the perched one was far to high up for me to get a photograph. It was very noticeable how few damselflies there were about. I think I only saw five or six all day. Definitely a sign that the macro season is drawing to a close. The first photograph I managed today was of a male Migrant hawker. He was perched on an old gorse stem but the background was pretty decent.
Male Migrant hawker
It was rather a case of being spoilt for choice with the Migrant hawkers, they were everywhere and I took many photographs of them. On one Silver Birch sapling I counted four males on the same branch warming themselves up in the sun. Southern Hawkers were seen in good numbers as were Common and Ruddy darters. The Ruddy darters were as usual playing hard to get. They love to keep low down to the ground making it awkward to get a photograph at all, let alone one with a clean background. I did manage some decent shots but I had to lay down on my belly to get an angle on them where I could get a nice background. I think the males of this species are a fantastic little insect.
Male Ruddy darter
I didn't bother with the wooded area of the reserve today as I was getting plenty of photo opportunities in the heather meadow area. There were a couple of Brimstone butterflies in the meadow and they were pretty obliging allowing me ample photo opportunities.
Full marks to the weather forecaster's today. It was exactly as forecast with clear blue skies, a very light breeze and temperature of about 20 degrees c. One of the best days weather wise and photography wise that I have had in quite a while. I made my way back towards the car at around 11:00 to shed some clothing as I was running very warm. With the cool start I had put a waistcoat on, but now needed to take it off. After getting rid of the waistcoat I though I would check the posts just behind the car park to see if any lizards were showing. I was in luck, there was one basking in the sun on a post and it was pretty obliging as well letting me take some nice close up images.
I made my way back towards the heather meadow, stopping as I went to take a few more photographs of the Ruddy darters. Speckled Wood butterflies were very numerous and I also saw a couple of red Admiral and a Comma butterfly. I spent much of the rest of the day in and around the heather meadow taking many photographs of the Migrant hawkers and some more of the Brimstone butterflies and anything else that came within range of my lens. I also spent quite a bit of time talking to fellow nature lovers. Not people who are close friends, but more acquaintances who I bump into now and again on the reserve.
At 14:30 I decided to head back to the car to make my way home. A fantastic five and a half hours spent on the local patch in glorious weather. Don't forget you can view all my photographs that I take via the main web site. Just click this link to see the latest updates. http://lincsbirder.zenfolio.com/recent.html