Sometimes you only get one shot at your target species, and sometimes that's enough. I was on a mission and on a schedule as I yomped along the towpath at Forest Farm this afternoon - trying to get down to what R and I call "the dragonfly zone", find a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, photograph it, and then get back to the car and home to Baby B's house before he got up from his nap. (Not that he was alone, obviously - R was in charge of nap time - but I didn't want to neglect my grandmotherly duties, or, indeed, miss anything, once B was up and about again.)
A chap who was leaving the reserve as I arrived had caused my heart to sink, by responding in the negative to the standard question asked by nature photographers: "Much around?", but I think he must have been looking in the wrong direction: there were literally scores of Common Darters whizzing about, plus a few Azure Damselflies, and a couple of Migrant Hawkers. I was right down at the end of the dragonfly zone though, before I caught my first sight of this guy, hunting fast and high. There's a little clearing in the reeds at this far point of the walk that seems to be favoured by every generation of Golden-Rings, so I positioned myself there and waited... and a few seconds later he rewarded my fieldcraft by swooping in and landing. He was a long way across the canal from me and I'd have liked him much closer, but this turned out to be my one and only chance, so it's a good thing that I found him straight away in the viewfinder, and that the autofocus grabbed him first time. A split second after I took this, a couple of male Common Darters arrived and harried him up into the trees, and my only other glimpses of him were at an even greater distance, as I hot-footed it back along the canal to the car.
To be honest, this isn't my best Forest Farm photo of the day. That would probably be the "over-mature" female Common Darter I've posted to Facebook. But. She's a Common Darter, and I've blipped several of those this season, while this is only my second Golden-ringed Dragonfly of the year - so he really had to be my blip.
For the record, the Boy Wonder's new word today was "two". Even more impressively, we had "two shoes" quite a few times. This was before he removed one of my two shoes, took it to a place of safety, and refused ("No!" on a rising intonation with a tiny but emphatic shake of the head) to give it back. I was prepared to be flattered at the thought that he might be trying to stop me going home, but then he discovered an interesting piece of wire, completely abandoned my shoe, and didn't even notice when R and I left the house. I now have a better understanding of my place in the scheme of things, I think.
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