When I took early retirement just over a year ago, it was with every intention of getting out more. It didn’t happen. First of all one of our cats was diagnosed with oral cancer and I spent the next six months staying close so I could give her regular feeds of a watered down special diet. Then another cat had a bad diagnosis, this on top of already having lost four of our beloved ferrets. Then days before Christmas we lost both our elderly llamas within 48 hours. I knew they were all a good age and had the most wonderful lives, but it hit me hard and it’s taken a long time to pick up the pieces.
The other week I decided to take my new lens to a local country park, mainly to see if I could find any dragonflies. I had been well briefed by the guys in my photography forum and I had an idea of the most suitable places to look. I’m growing to love this park. It’s a pleasant fifteen minute drive and there is ample parking at only £1 for four hours. There are toilets and a lovely café with tables outside where you can sit close to the lakes.
I set out in the direction of a little river and pausing on the bridge to watch in the reeds below, I could definitely see movement over the water. On the other side, I slithered down to the bank where I found lots of small, blue damselflies. They were close too, so I settled down in the grass to change lenses. Unfortunately the new lens doesn’t fit in my case and because I won’t put my camera in the rucksack without one, I end up doing this at the beginning and end of every session. It’s a small price to pay.
I had just put the camera round my neck and got the rucksack over my shoulders when a family turned up with their dog. They clearly thought it was fun to throw a stick in the water. The dog was happy, I got wet and the damselflies disappeared from view. It looked as though they intended to stay, so I decided to head for an area of rushes with decking over the water. Once again, there were plenty of insects flying around, but no sooner had I closed in on one, than yet another dog turned up, making a huge splash. There were no owners in sight this time and rather than risk a wet dog jumping up near my lens, I took the decision to move on yet again.
Only yards from the rushes, I found a little pathway almost hidden from view. It ran parallel to the main footpath, but didn’t appear to be well used. It was full of nettles and wild honeysuckle and looked like a place bugs would hang out. I wasn’t wrong. Within seconds I had found two colourful damselflies and over the next hour I was able to get some shots up close and personal.
They were later identified on my forum as being male and female beautiful demoiselles. The female is shown in the featured image above and also below. I never did find a dragonfly, but I intend to go back soon, only perhaps when it isn’t as warm and the water isn’t so inviting.