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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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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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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Migrant Hawker (Aeshna Mixta)

Similar in size but smaller than the Southern Hawker,when they emerge they are often seen in large numbers,i can be walking anywhere at Brandon and come across this species,and with care they’ll happily stay where they are and have their picture taken

They are most numerous late in the season along with the Southern Hawkers and Common Darters,the female below was discovered well into october.Good because it keeps the Dragonfly season going a while longer.

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Female

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2013 is really shaping up to be a great year for these

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Common-Blue Damselfly (Enallagma Cyathigerum)

During the summer months I’ll head straight for the wildflower meadow next to the River Avon,its usually teeming with Damselflies long before the Dragons start to emerge.You can walk through the long grass and theres literally one taking flight with every step.Its hard going at times though because of the swarms of Mosquitos and numerous Clegg Flies,I suppose everything has a price to be paid.

What i tend to do with these is get down to their level,even if it means lieing on my belly and proping the camera up on my elbows,its pretty stable that way,not nice if its been raining though

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female

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mating wheel

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