Well here we are in the first week of August. some mornings feel more like the end of September. we are still having cloudy days. I have however still been getting out and mostly to Warren heath. I tried hundred acre piece on the way to Wasing on a very blustery day. I however gave up getting onto site in my usual parking spot which had been much reduced to nothing and due to the weather carried on to Wasing.
I do not go there as often as I maybe I should, my interest was mainly due to a couple of reports of a vagrant /lesser Emporer sightings, which jerked me into the false hope of a sighting. As it turned out it was just that and what with the previously mentioned wind I sought out some small glades anything to get away from the wind. Although there were plenty of damsels about nothing was of any interest just the usual suspects. Although I did manage a very unexpected MOTH. This is my best shot as the subject which stayed low (knee Height) in vegetation that most of the time was waist height or higher.
I have been drawn to Warren heath by the Golden ringed Dragonfly that inhabits the runnels around this site and although the Golden ringed is no where as numerous as other dragons it makes up for its lack of numbers by its attractiveness. However it has been difficult to photograph due its lack of numbers, along with its habitat. to get a clear backgound for in flight shots has so far this year eluded me. I do believe the vegetation is thicker this year? It also be my imagination.
I occasionally meet other Dragonfly enthusiasts at Warren heath. Sometimes by the lay-by whilst parking and its surprising how Far they have travelled and its their first visit. I always try to help where possible and give them either a short tour or directions. One person I meet there occasionally is Chris Brookes of CHRIS BROOKES PHOTOGRAPHY which is a very informative website. We tend to natter about al things not just dragons chris has been going there for over 10 years as opposed to my meagre 3 years. He knows this site like the back of his hand. during our last meet he advised me of a couple of very small ponds not to far fromwhere we were standing. Although only tiny they were full of varios Odonata. Therefore many Thanks! Chris these Ruddy darters images were taken there. all hand held with a 300 lens.
Here are a few more images taken over the last couple of visits to Warren heath ENJOY
Thanks for looking If I can help in any way just email me on the home page
Kind regards Mike
10th-12th AUGUST 2016
I had before me a chance trip for 3 days to Essex. my Wife was visiting her sister for 3 days and going to the west end to take in a show, the other days were to escort me about or take the car to go off with her sister to do what they like.
So day one I had seen reports of the SOUTHERN MIGRANT HAWKER at vari0us sites.
I chose Watt Tyler to get the SCARCE EMERALD and West Canvey Marsh the other choice was Bowyers Marsh. I went to Watt tyler for the earlyness as I am not keen on crowds. I was not going to go inside though! On the approach road to the park on the right hand side is a ditch which is very overgrown ideal for the SE. I could not see any signs of life amongst the vegetation. But the weather did not help at all, it was very overcast and very windy after about 20 mins search around the outer areas the pond which incidentally is fenced off I gave up and moved on.
West canvey Marsh. this is a RSPB site. I had difficulty finding it, The entrance is on a roundabout the signage was obscured by hedgerow, and to add to the problem there are a couple of roundabouts quite close which did not help but eventually I parked up. There were volunteers in the carpark with strimmers cutting the grasses etc. I managed to talk to the site warden who was very helpful, as were the volunteers who gave advice as to where to look for the SMH, thanking them and also advising as to cutting the hedge around the signboard I ventured on.
This site is very open with barely any trees therefore the wind seemed even greater There was an avenue of hedgerow that gave some relief from the wind, there I was treated too a couple of sightings of Migrant hawker but still no SMH. I went off track around some reeds occasionally scaring up severall MH and Once a SMH. I also noticed under a carpet of felt two very large female adders in absolutley beautiful condition but could not get a shot off. Back to some more reeds I was very fortunate to get a quick shot of a male SMH on a reedstem. Not a bad shot considering he did not hang around, my left hand was full of reed, in my right hand my camera. all in all I am quite pleased with the photo all considering.
After a few more hours and a photo of a MH which landed in the previously mentioned hedgerows I headed back to base, half happy, to Chigwell to be precise.
Bowyers marsh is down a narrow track and all signs that indicate dead end must still be followed you will then be rewarded with a nice neat car park.My quest for today was to be the SCARCE EMERALD. There are several vastly overgrown ditches which fit the bill. But I had implicite instructions as to where to go on site so as it did not seem to be far I had a stroll to find the pond in question. Having located the pond or what I suspected to be the pond I returned to the car.
On my return there was another vehicle parked near mine with the occupant still inside. Whilst putting on boots etc he came over and we struck up a conversation. He was there for the same reason and had the same instructions, small world isnt it? between us we were bemused as to the pond exact spot so luckily he rang the person who had given the instructions luckily we then foun said pond.
The wind was still very breezy and it was still overcast, we only located about 8 Emeralds between us but I am still not sure as to their correct ID and am awaiting a second opinion they look suspicially like old EMERALDS to me? I have posted a couple here for perusal.
WATT TYLER COUNTRY PARK and WEST CANVEY MARSH
Although I hate crowds I had to do something to get more sightings and photos of theSMH. So this morning of the third day I braved the country park arriving a little after 10.30am I had the wife and sister in law in tow however they left me alone for a couple of hours. Yes I saw several SMH luckily the sun was shining and it was getting hot, although there was a fair wind blowing the trees and buildings offered a little shelter. would the SMH come and land or near enough for the camera the answer is a big NO. I had a very inquistive SOUTHERN HAWKER or two as well as MIGRANT HAWKERS all coming very close for some DIF shots which was frustrating. I met two others their with the same problems I believe one of them was the recorder for hertfordshire. after two and a half hrs we had a cuppa and moved on.
West Canvey Marsh. I was left to my own devices while the ladies went to the sea front for a stroll with the promise of a sandwich and cuppa on their return.
I would love to say things got better but they did not although there were more dragons about on this visit it was still very windy aided by the lack of trees etc to slow the wind down. I did have one sighting of the SMH and a few MH but settled for some photos of RUDDY DARTERSand MIGRANT HAWKER
I have this week been out three times twice to Bramshill and once to Warren heath. I have mentioned previously Warren heath is not an easy venue to park with too few spaces readily available close by and where I deem safe, therefore all three trips were originally to Warren Heath but the parking situation moved me on to Bramhill.
The weather was extrememly hot on all these three trips. My main aim was the Small Red-eyed damselfly again
The reasoning why I was specifically after the small Red-Eyed Damselfly was the Album I had previously up until last winter had mysteriously disapeared from my computer and my back up hard drives? why or how is a complete mystery I believe I had about 50 images ! GONE to who knows where!
Above is my most interesting encounter trying to get close enough to this specimen without interupting his lunch!
I am planning a trip to Priddy Mineries in the first few days of September to meet up with the Moorland/Common hawker, I am hoping the weather is kind, watch this space!!