Twenty-odd years later and I have little more interest in Odonata than I did back then but news of 30+ Southern Migrant Hawkers Aeshna affinis at Canvey Island was mildly tempting, more so because of the guarantee of Scarce Emerald Damselfly Lestes dryas at the same site. I was working in Kent on Friday and really couldn't face driving all the way home, only to turn around and head to the other side of the river first thing on Saturday. So I stayed in Kent till after 10pm to avoid the hassle of working out how to pay the Dartford crossing toll and then made the short hop round to the A13 where I managed a few hours sleep in a lay-by.
For once the weather did the decent thing and the overnight rain stopped at 5.30am and I was on site half an hour later (with my handbag of course, I felt I should try to fit in with the locals). It was still cloudy and cool but I soon found some roosting Scarce Emeralds. I soon learnt that my new camera doesn't like taking pictures of Odonata but you can at least tell what it is.
It took another hour and a half for the sun to come out and apart from a few Blue-tailed Damselflies Ischnura elegans and a few darters, one of which I managed to convince myself was Ruddy Sympetrum sanguineum, I had seen nothing else. The arrival of the sun did the trick though and a male Southern Migrant Hawker was suddenly there, a few feet from me, basking on a bramble stem. It only allowed one photo before departing and over the next half hour I saw no more. Returning to the original spot, I found that he was perched in exactly the same place but again his stay was fairly brief and then the cloud returned.
This was the best I managed but you can find much better on the web.
The cloud looked quite extensive so I headed off as I wanted to have a look around the Canvey Wick reserve which was just a couple of miles away. This brownfield site was threatened with development but a long campaign by Buglife saved it, much to my surprise I have to admit. It is now in the ownership of the Land Trust and is managed by RSPB and Buglife. I see that the idiots in the marketing departments have been hard at work and describe Canvey Wick as having 'as many species per square metre as a rainforest'. This of course is patent bollocks. Please give us your evidence for this statement, which square metre, which rainforest?
|I reckon my backside has more species than this square metre|
|Adonis' Ladybirds Hippodamia variegata clearly enjoying the site.|
|The 'Tumbling Flower Beetle' Variimorda villosa|