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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Some more dragonflies

I've had a good week for dragonflies at Rainham Marshes, the highlight of which was finding a male Southern Migrant Hawker (aka Blue-eyed Hawker, Aeshna affinis) on Tuesday afternoon (29th July 2014).

I spent some 10 minutes watching this dragonfly hunting quite close in front of the Ken Barrett hide before I was sure what he was. I could see that he was definitely quite bright blue, but I wasn't certain until he finally perched.

Then I could clearly see the almost-solid yellow-fading to-blue colouration of the side of the thorax which confirmed him as a male affinis.
Our common native Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) has 2 distinct yellow diagonal lines separated by a brown gap. A recently matured individual mixta can look almost as bright blue as affinis, but a view of the side of the thorax will separate the species.

I tried for an in-flight image, and this was my best effort. Don't look too closely, please, as it's not really sharp enough!

Southern Migrant Hawker - Aeshna affinis

I also made this black and white image of a Black-tailed Skimmer perching on one of the short dead reed stems in the "Dragonfly Pool".

Black-tailed Skimmer - Orthetrum cancellatum
I managed to find a viewpoint from which I could frame the dragonfly in-camera without any other reed stems in the shot, but I must admit that I didn't see the lovely wave pattern in the background until I saw the image on the computer.

Finally, this morning (31st July 2014), this female Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) flew in to perch as I was walking through the Cordite Store.

Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyanea
I love to get images of dragonflies perched on interesting shaped plants, so this one fits the bill nicely. I also like the spider's web on the right-hand side.