Yet another visit to the local patch, Messingham. It was a cool morning with the promise of sunny spells. I arrived at Messingham at 09:00 and there was some sunshine if a little hazy. As you have probably guessed by now the Canon 100mm lens and speedlite flash hand held was my choice of equipment for today.
As I was driving to Messingham I heard a text message come through on my phone, on checking it on arrival at Messingham it was from my friend Mark saying he would be at Messingham around 10:15, so I would have company for the rest of the day. The first meadow after leaving the car park didn't give any photographic opportunities but I wasn't surprised because of the cool conditions. I did have brief views of a Common darter and a Migrant hawker but nothing else to note.
Continuing through the reserve I reached the heather meadow and it was starting to warm up a little although the sun had become very weak and hazy. My first subject was not the expected darter or hawker but a caterpillar. I found what I thought was a Vapourer moth caterpillar on the birch trees on the edge of the meadow. I have seen one of these in the past but a long time ago and wasn't 100% sure it was one until Mark arrived and confirmed my ID. They are certainly a little different to the run of the mill caterpillar, and quite attractive in my opinion.
Vapourer moth caterpillar
With Mark now having joined me the search for insects continued and it wasn't long before we soon found more photographic subjects. The sun had disappeared completely now and it was a matter of searching for anything that was perched up as the lack of sun had grounded most subjects. Migrant hawker dragonflies were seen perched in good numbers but finding one that was perched in an accessible position where a decent background could be had was another matter. The one I have posted below is the best I could manage.
Male Migrant hawker
Both a male and female Emerald damselfly were seen but both of them were in pretty poor condition and what is termed over mature, meaning they are very close to the end of their lifespan. The sun put in another brief appearance and Speckled Wood butterflies were seen in good numbers and also a Comma which I managed to get a good photograph of.
With the sun now shining the hawkers were everywhere. Only earlier in the week I had been bemoaning the fact that I had only managed one photograph of a female Southern hawker this season. Today two were seen as well as many males, and I managed photographs of both of them so was well pleased with these.
Female Southern Hawker
Ruddy and Common darters were seen in good numbers but they were very flighty and I only managed one photograph of a Common darter. A Common lizard was seen basking on top of some dead gorse but as with dragonflies on gorse the background was unsightly. The time had flown by and Mark had to leave about 13:45. As the sun was still shining I decided to stay a while and was fortunate to find a very confiding Common lizard that wasn't on gorse and it let me take some nice close up photos.
It was 15:30 by the time I arrived back at my car. Another super day in great company on this lovely reserve.