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I was skulking moodily in the secret garden this morning, drinking a mug of tea and wondering why there didn’t seem to be anything about worth photographing, when I suddenly spotted a red damselfly – the first I’ve seen this year. By the time I’d lowered the tea mug to the ground and picked up the camera it was gone, leaving the air turning blue with the sound of my frustration. I waited a few minutes, but the damselfly didn’t return, so I went off into the house in a vile mood and took my angst out on R some paperwork.

A little later I thought I’d try again, so I went back to the same spot, and after a couple of minutes she appeared and landed on a tayberry leaf: Pyrrhosoma nymphula, the Large Red Damselfly. As you can see the garden was bathed in the kind of bright, contrasty light Proper Photographers tell you to avoid, but on this occasion it worked, displaying her colours beautifully. She was very skittish, and I had to re-track her several times when I got a little too close and she lifted off, so once I was confident that I had several decent shots of her I went away and left her in peace.

I’m thrilled that my Odonata season has now started, especially as we’re experiencing near-drought conditions here: with the brook that runs through the middle of the village almost dry, I’d been worrying that we might have a bad year for damsels and dragons. I have a secret plan to persuade R to dig out a garden pond for me, but I fear he may not be as keen on the idea as I am, so I’m not telling him about it just yet in case he adopts damselfly tactics and disappears.

There’s a set of LRDF shots here, if you’d like to see more.