As of last week the New Forest is still lagging way behind Dorset in sightings, although I’m pleased to say that it has now finally woken up with several species now present. Along with the Large Reds, there have been sightings of Hairys, Downy Emeralds, Broad-bodied and Four-spotted Chasers, Azures, Blue-tails and Common Blues.
On Wednesday of last week, after a great day at Studland, I decided to scout a few reliable sites in the forest but the only species to be seen were Large Reds, albeit in greater numbers. having spent the end of the week in pursuit of my other passion, butterflies, I decided to spend Sunday afternoon at Keyhaven.
Several Large Reds, Azures and Blue-tails were on the wing, a fresh Four-spotted Chaser disappeared over the tree tops and a little later I had my first sighting of a Hairy Dragonfly, followed closely afterwards by two more.
I then spent the next 3 hours watching 2 males and a female patrolling the bank, weaving in & out of the reeds at great speed and with maneuverability. This of course didn’t provide the best opportunity for a photograph! So I had no other choice than to attempt an in-flight shot
After a reliable report of plentiful Hairy activity along with a large population of damsels, I decided to take a trip to outside of Hampshire Somerset Levels on Monday.
We arrived shortly after midday and took a short walk along one of the many paths where damsels were in profusion, mostly Azures and Common Blues along with possibly some Variables, although unable to get close for a photo I cannot be sure.
Having found our bearings we found the path of most activity and were rewarded with a good 18 Hairy’s patrolling the rides, but it was a good hour before I had my first close chance for a perched shot
She was very accommodating and allowed me several shots
even allowing me to get in close
Satisfied with a good opportunity, we decided to explore further and spotted several more along with a few Four-spotted Chasers, although none perched close enough for a decent shot
Returning to the main path we spotted our first Banded Demoiselles of the season
We counted 3 males and 2 females, all very flighty
So all in all a very rewarding day and well worth the 2 hour drive