posted in: Uncategorized | 0

The weather this morning was horrible, which gave me several hours with nothing better to do than work on photos. The good news is that I’ve now culled 90% of the photos I took yesterday of the Grey Phalarope. The bad news is that this still leaves me with over seventy photos from this series, which by any sensible measure would be about sixty three too many, but each of them has something to commend it, and every deletion is now a struggle. I think I’m going to need a bigger hard drive…

By early afternoon the weather was clearing, though it was still pretty cold, and I took myself off to Trench Wood in search of exercise and the day’s image. The first half hour of my walk didn’t trouble my shutter count at all: there were barely any insects about, and I wasn’t quick enough to catch the gang of long-tailed tits that zoomed past me having a noisy chat, and disappeared into a thicket where I couldn’t follow them. When I first arrived at the pond I could only see a couple of pairs of Common Darters ovipositing, and a single Southern Hawker making occasional desultory hunting passes, but this wasn’t surprising as it was still cold and windy, and with scudding cloud cover the light was coming and going – the conditions weren’t ideal, either for dragons or for me.

After a couple of minutes one of the Common Darter couples left the pond – still flying in tandem – and came to the bank to bask on some bramble leaves in a patch of sunlight; I assume that it was so cold over the water that they were tiring, and needed to try to warm themselves up, because after a minute or so they took off again and went back to their task. Then I started to notice a few other solitary Darters, also sitting in patches of sunlight, and I realised that if they were torpid it might be a good opportunity for me to get some close-ups of them. I’m glad there was no-one else around, because I wasn’t willing to get down onto the wet and muddy ground, so a lot of very inelegant bending and squatting took place, interspersed with creaky and grumbly straightening up every time my victim model managed to whisk away into a different sunbeam, and had to be stalked all over again.

There’s torpid (me, dozily failing to raise the camera in time when the long-tailed tits hove into view) … and then there’s dragonfly torpid, which still somehow allows them to dematerialise between one shutter click and the next. But given that unequal struggle, and the fact that this Common Darter is no more than 4cm long from head to claspers, I’m reasonably pleased with some of my photos. Please do look at this one full-screen, if you have the time.