An Introduction

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For a while I’d been thinking about a site of my own,but did nothing about it.that was until I was speaking to a colleague Mr Hassan Haybe,who gave me alot of encouragement and ideas.

For a while now I’ve been taking wildlife pictures,but developed an interest in dragonflies and damselflies..My main area to visit is a nature reserve near Coventry called ‘Brandon Marsh’.Its a site that can boast 9 different species of Dragonfly and numerous Damselflies.
My intent of all this is not a scientific study but a brief description and a few pictures,all of which will be taken by me..I also dont want it to turn into a ‘how to do it’ type of thing,because each Dragonfly is an individual in each given circumstance,be it the weather,species or time of day.I want it to be more of a ‘how i do it’ type of thing,mainly because we’re all different and use different equipment in different locations

People often tell me that I must be patient or have a good camera,well patience doesn’t really come into it in that if someone puts theirselves in a position to photograph something where that something exists they have a chance(No point in trying to take football pictures at a cricket match)….And where i dont exactly use a point and shoot the equipment actually plays less of a role than people might think,the important thing is knowing a little about the subject.

Ian Harris

The Dragonfly species…Emperor,Brown Hawker,Southern Hawker,Migrant Hawker,Broad Bodied Chaser,Black Tailed Skimmer,4 Spotted Chaser,Common Darter,Ruddy Darter

The Damselflies so far include..Common Blue,Azure,Large Red,Blue Tailed,Emerald,Red Eyed,Banded Damoiselle

***as spring arrives this will be changing,an ongoing thing if you like…watch this space***

 

the river avon wildflower meadow

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the tip area

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the 9 species

Brown Hawker (Aeshna Grandis)

A huge Dragonfly which always seems to be on the wing,hunting or defending territory

Now what you see here all the sum total of individual specimens I’ve photographed,and I actually remember each one well

The first one….I was on the path towards the woods at Brandon and saw it land,it was late 2010,well I barely had time to put the camera on the tripod and fire one single shot off,luckily it worked out fairly decently

The second one…I was in the meadow adjacent to the river meadow,a nice sheltered spot which rarely gets any wind,i was snapping anything that moved if i’m honest.Well this Hawker came into view,wings glowing gold in the sunlight,he did a few curcuits then decided to land.About 5 feet away from me,now that was a bonus

The third one..I was at the end of the tip area,a nice spot just to relax in.Well I was watching these Hawkers in flight and hunting,this went on for a while until this female wanted to rest,luckily I saw where she landed which for me wasn’t easy because it was up a small but steep embankment.I got there in the end and the results are what you see here

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Ruddy Darter(Sympetrum Sanguineum)

A gem of a dragonfly which is much sought after….And one of britains smallest

I’d like to say that if you visit brandon marsh to go to specific areas if you want to see Ruddy Darters,but I cant because these can pop up virtually anywhere.So if I get one its a bonus.

The Ruddy Darter is often mistaken for the Common Darter,but the signs to look for are the all black legs and belled body shape

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teneral male

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female

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mating pair

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Black-Tailed Skimmer(Orthetrum Cancellatum)

An early species which i often find when just emerged amongst the long grass in the river meadow,choose a nice day and just wait a while and you’ll see a few looking for a suitable stem of grass to land on and dry out

With care its possible to get really close to these at this stage before they fly off.If they do fly they wont go far though.

once dried out these dragonflies tend to be found at random across the whole reserve

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teneral male

 

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female

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Red-Eyed Damselfly(Erythromma Najas)

Not the commonest Damselfly to be found and when they do emerge they’ll often be over water on a lily pad

in terms of Brandon Marsh this Damselfly isn’t anywhere near abundant,they are there but in low numbers.when spotted they’re nearly always found near to the River Avon…A couple of us have actually seen Common Blue Damselflies attacking them as they try to leave their watery habitat.

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immature male

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female

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Banded Damoiselle(Calopteryx Splendens)

A real jewel of an Odonata,mainly seen in large groups over or near to water

If you visit Brandon during the summer months and head for the river meadow,you’ll see swarms of these beauties in the long grass or over the water.Its a species that prolific where-ever its found

With the male being blue and the female green its easy to tell the sexes apart,though caught in the right light the female will look red or bronze

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female

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