I had to go to Stratford this morning to run a couple of errands, and took the big gear with me in the hope that the weather might be better there than at home, and that there just might be a few dragons around. Neither of these hopes was realised, but I searched for a few hundred metres west of Lucy's Mill Bridge anyway, first on one bank and then on the other, gritting my teeth and ignoring the faint mizzle, poor light, and general lack of anything much to photograph.
I did spot a number of Banded Demoiselles, hanging out in the reed beds and waiting for conditions to improve, and when the sky lifted fractionally as I was walking back from Weir Brake Lock, a couple of them even came up onto the bankside vegetation to play, giving me the best photo opportunities of the morning so far. I had one more site to check though - a bank of nettles and other weeds by the north-west corner of the pedestrian bridge, which gives access (if you're careful, and lucky) right down to the water's edge - and it was here, as I did a slow pirouette to check that I hadn't missed anyone, that I unexpectedly came face-to-face with this male.
We were so close to each other that I couldn't immediately get focus on him, and I had to position one foot on the flat stones that run along the edge of this section of the river, and lean slightly backwards over the water to get him outside the 1.2m minimum focus distance of the extended 100-500 lens. Given which, it's not surprising that the first couple of shots I took were a bit shaky, but this was the third frame, and I'm really quite pleased with it. It will look better full-screen, if you have the time to check it out.