I've had a feeling one might turn up there (or a Lesser Emperor) before long as there have been many sightings of both of these migrant species all over the country so far this year. But with the kids wanting to go out Sunday I had to risk trekking over there yesterday despite the wind and periods of cloud cover in an attempt to find it.
In the event, after a shaky start it didn't turn out too bad, but despite a good three hours on site the Red-veined Darter was nowhere to be seen. Disappointed but not gutted (I keep telling myself), as it's not a lifer, not even a Gateshead tick. I photographed one at the same site back in 2006, but it would have been nice to get better pics, and it's good to know the first one wasn't a fluke, so always worth looking out for (yeah, I think I am gutted) :-(
|Red veined Darter, Kibblesworth July 2006 - the one I did see :-)|
Plenty of action to keep me entertained, but the stars were the Black-tailed skimmers. I haven't had too much luck with this species over the years and when I do encounter them I've found them to be very wary of attempts to photograph them. This was the first occasion I've had the X-S1 to get them with, and the results made the trip worth while :
|Black-tailed Skimmer (mature male) |
About as close as I could get early doors
|A better angle this time, but could I sneak a closer view?|
|Yip, strong sunlight on pale background though.|
|Back to a more typical view|
|This mating pair landed not far away but an obstructed view|
|Luckily they flew up and landed somewhere more open, I approached with stealth|
and got a bucketful of close-ups
|Good view of the grip, hanging on for dear life.|
|A change of view|
|Quite pleased with some of those, I didn't want to get too close as they seem to be a wary species|
and fly off, I think I was lucky to get this close.
|Single females weren't easy to tie down for a photo, this the best I could get|
|A bit easier when in tandem, but that head lock doesn't look too comfortable|
|I think that's what the kids call these days a 'face plant'|
That said, I've had some cracking photos there but it certainly isn't a site you can expect a quick visit to deliver. Despite the numbers present, it needs to be worked more than other more intimate sites where there's also less choice of target species.
I targeted the Skimmers today and managed decent results, but my photos of the Chasers and damsels leave a lot to be desired, and I didn't even bother with the Emperors. I think I'll post them another day, seeing as the forecast for the week isn't great, best leave something for a slack week.