Yesterday was one of the first really chilly evenings for many months. The type of evening when you want the heating on, but feel guilty to ask. By bed time I was happy to snuggle up under the duvet, with a blanket and a few cats thrown on top for good measure.
It’s hard to believe that exactly a week ago I was at the reserve again on a day that was really too hot for my liking. Fingers crossed, temperatures over 30C are finished for the year, but the sun was still blazing down and I doubted my sanity in spending just a few more hours in the hide. It seemed like the last opportunity of photographing a kingfisher this year, so I was prepared to grin and bear it.
I must have stood there for hours, but I didn’t see a glimpse of blue. The water was very low too, meaning I wasn’t even able to photograph the herons or egrets. Clearly this particular hide isn’t going to be of much use until we have plenty of rain. The plants outside are in need of cutting down too, as they obscure anything that does get up close. Deciding to give it a break for a couple of months, I packed up my gear and headed for the car park.
It was as I passed a lush, green path, that I decided to see where it led. I believed it ran round the back of the largest lake and that was the case. Narrow and undulating, it must be the only non-wheelchair friendly path on the reserve and therefore not marked on their map. I liked it though and as I reached the half-way point, I came across a clearing to my left, allowing access to the edge of the water. I stood there for a while and then I spotted a number of dragonflies. The blue ones were hovering over the reeds, but a handful of red ones kept chasing them off. I was lucky enough to catch one in flight before they flew away. The red ones clearly wanted to sunbathe and were prepared to fight for the best spots. Perched on the reeds in the lake, I couldn’t get close enough, so I eventually gave up and moved on.
Only yards away, there seemed to be a small pond on the other side of the path and to my delight, it was covered in blue dragonflies. They must have grown tired of being chased away from the lake and had found this spot instead. One in particular kept landing on a reed a few feet away. I was standing in the shade and he was backlit by the strong afternoon sun. It was only later that evening while I was processing the image, that I thought he reminded me of a stained glass dragonfly.
As I was leaving the lake for the last time for a while, I spooked something close to where I had been standing. The flash of blue was unmistakable. At least I had a sighting of one of the kingfishers.