R and I had to go to Stratford his morning, to sort out a couple of final bits of admin on my new car. When we left the dealership it was raining, so we scuttled grumpily over to BTP for coffee and cake, intending to head home afterwards, but by the time we emerged from there it was sunny, so we were able to go for a walk after all.
I turned westwards from Lucy's Mill Bridge and walked down to Weir Brake Lock - looking, of course, for Odonata, but on the way there finding mainly butterflies. Once I reached the lock I began searching the nettle beds, and spotted a few damselflies, though they were all quite flighty and reactive in the windy conditions. I'm not sure what made me glance downwards - some kind of
Spidey Dragony Sense, perhaps - but when I did, I found myself about two feet away from this Southern Hawker, who was hanging on the nettles at about my waist height. If I hadn't seen him and had stepped in closer he'd probably have gone up, and I'd have suffered a heart-stopping shock (I know, because this happened to me once before), on top of the vexation of having missed the chance to take his photo. Happily he suffered me taking a couple of steps back and raising the camera, though by the time I'd finished snapping away at him I suspect he might have been mentally rolling his eyes. On the subject of which, I'd love you to look at this full-screen if you have the time, so you can appreciate their full glory.
Round on the other side of the lock the nettle beds yielded more damselflies, at least one of which appears to have been a Beautiful Demoiselle - though this is not natural territory for them, and I've never seen one here before. I'm currently waiting for the Warwickshire Odonata Recorder to give me his verdict on this sighting. By this time I was uncomfortably aware that R had finished his own walk some while since and was now waiting for me, so I put my best foot forward and headed back over the lock and back towards town (noting as I passed this spot that the Southern Hawker had now gone).
My walk still had one more nice sighting to offer though, which was the Scarce Chaser I've posted as tonight's second photo. There was a group of walkers behind me when I noticed him and skidded to an abrupt halt, and I asked them if they'd mind waiting a few seconds while I got some shots, which they politely did. By the time I'd finished they had realised I was photographing a dragonfly and were discussing him, and as he lost his nerve and flew away I turned to thank them, and said, "He's a Scarce Chaser. Most of the people you know have probably never seen one, and if they have they most likely didn't know what it was," which caused a little flutter of interest and excitement among the group. It's a good day when you get the chance to spread a little dragon wonderment.