After finishing my tax return yesterday afternoon, I decided I'd earned a short break, so went down to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve for the first time in AGES. It was a gorgeous day though quite breezy. I took just the D300 and BigMac lens.
After stalking assorted bees with limited success, and watching a singing Garden Warbler through my bins, I headed out towards the Long Lake end of the reserve. The woods were full of birdsong and the squeaks and tweets of recently fledged youngsters of various species, including Long-tailed Tits and Robins. Swifts and martins zoomed overhead. It was, in short, pretty idyllic. I saw my first Banded Demoiselle near Willow hide (out of camera-reach) and carried straight on to the Long Lake meadow.
This field serves as a perfect 'nursery' for the teneral damsels that are fresh out of the lake, where they can feed and colour up for their first day or so of adult life, before they return to the water's edge for the hurly-burly of mate-finding and egg-laying (the latter a process that involves the males just as much as the females, as they remain in tandem and the males help the females break the water's surface tension when they immerse their abdomens). Dozens rose up at every step I took, mostly drab but shiny-winged tenerals, but a few full-coloured and mature.
Lovely though the damsels were, it was disappointing to see no Downy Emeralds. With the near shore becoming shaded, I think it was just a bit too late in the day for the males to be out patrolling their territories.