Meeting up a Colin Green’s this morning at 07.00 I had been keen to be away. Looking at the weather though and the offer of a coffee seemed ok. Colin, Dave and I were then on our way sarf through initially improving weather. As we approached the M25 though the weather really deteriorated. Plans had to change. I was confident the weather would improve, question was, when?

Our first stop was Rainham Marshes, the newish RSPB reserve. What a fantastic urban space. The RSPB have got to congratulated for creating such a brilliant place and Londoners should be forced to visit at least once in their life… Catholics should be told that one pilgrimage to Rainham is worth three to Rome.

After a (rip-off) bacon sandwich at the cafe, my only quibble (£3.10 with hardly any bacon and ditch the salad girls) we set off round the reserve. Sadly we didn’t see any Water Vole but I added Marsh Frog to my (non-existent) amphibian list. Plenty of Reed Warbler, mostly juveniles and a good range of large white-headed Gulls. A 4th summer proved tricky but the well marked tertials probably relegated it to Herring Gull. A 1W Yellow-legged Gull was non so controversial. By the end of the walk Colin had had his first lesson in Dragonfly id… the Common and Ruddy Darter debate.

I was keen to move on up the A13 (cue Billy Bragg sing-along) to Hadleigh Castle and Downs Country Park for our target species. After a meandering walk adding loads of butterflies including Marbled White and Brown Argus we found the right area. A few Migrant Hawkers in a ride revealed a female Southern Migrant Hawker Aeshna affinis which landed briefly but flew again before I could record the event. A shout came up further down and a few hardy souls who had been searching for about 5 hours had found a stunning male Southern Migrant Hawker.

A stunning and fucking rare insect. Which performed brilliantly. So blue, so brilliant. It finally landed and I was able to get two shots, only one in focus before it was off – I was also the only photographer there to get a shot too…

Southern Migrant Hawker

Looking again at the photo, this affinis has a deformed wing. It didn’t seem to affect the insect but I wonder if it managed to migrate with such a deformity or is it locally bred? That’s an intriguing thought.

A fabulous Wasp Spider was a diversion while trying to relocate the SMH.

Wasp Spider

Plenty of Migrant Hawkers too…

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Other good dragons were Small Red-eyed Damselfly and Scarce Emerald Damselfly. An excellent day out that also included a diversion on to Canvey Island… birthplace of Dr Feelgood.


3 responses to “Affinised

  1. Hope its ok but I’ve linked to your blog to show the photo of your southern migrant hawker with the damged wing and mentioned what you said about if its able to migrate with this damage.

    Nice pics btw 🙂

  2. thedrunkbirder

    No problem Neil… what have you linked it to?

  3. I linked straight to this post so people can see the pic and the rest of your post + blog

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