If you have the impression from this photo that it was a bit dark and gloomy in Trench Wood this afternoon, you’re correct – in fact it was starting to spit with rain by the time I got there. Luckily, or not, I knew that I didn’t have long to get my photo and leave: it was already half past three, and due to recent “antisocial incidents” the Trust is currently only allowing access to the car park between 9am and 4.30pm. (The antisocial incidents being car crime and flashing, though whether the same culprits were responsible for both, I wouldn’t care to speculate.)

There were several beautiful Southern Hawkers around, but I was pushing my luck in this light trying to get flight shots of the males – I did manage some, but they wouldn’t enhance my reputation if I posted them – and though I did get some shots of the ovipositing female, she was working in quite thick undergrowth, to try to avoid catching the males’ attention, so they’re rather untidy images. Luckily this little Ruddy Darter stopped for me a couple of times, once on a seed head and once on this leaf, and there’s something about the intensity of this pose that I rather like. In cropping it I’ve left some space for him to fly into, because that’s exactly what was about to happen.