An Hour by the Pond

It’s common knowledge that the best way to attract wildlife to your garden is to add some water. Our pond is only a few years old but is already a thriving ecosystem with lots of plants, newts, the occasional frog and lots of insects.

We have had both Large Red and Azure damselflies mating and laying this week. Nothing is more enjoyable for a wildlife photographer than spending some time observing and photographing nature as it unfolds, especially from the comfort of your own garden with refreshments readily at hand!

The Large Reds are a common and widespread species. When I spotted a pair mating in the typical heart-shaped pose I rushed inside for my camera. They spent some time in this position then, still in tandem, the female began laying in submerged vegetation around the pond. With full sun the light was a bit harsh but nothing to be done about that. Ponds are by their nature quite messy so it was a case of hoping they would settle in a relatively ‘clean’ area. When using a telephoto lens

depth of field is quite narrow so it was impossible to get both male and female in focus, except for a side-on view. I had a few goes with in-camera focus stacking, but with a slight breeze, this often ended up with 2-headed-insects. Different, but not quite what I had hoped for.

There was a male azure hanging around earlier in the week. They can be hard to tell apart from the Common Blue species, you really need to get a good view through binoculars. This was the first sighting of a female (more easily distinguished as she is a greeny colour) and she seemed to be laying. A lot more skittish than the Large Red so much more difficult to get the lens on her. I only managed a few shots before she went on her way.

Hoping to get some larger dragonflies later in the summer. We had a southern hawker last year (they are slowly extending their distribution northwards) so fingers crossed.

Alison Lomax