August began well with the media predicting a heatwave! Hot & dry all day Monday 1st meant we were getting a glimpse of summer at last.
Continuing my location scouting for site photographs, I called into Dibden Bottom first thing and was surprised to see a few Silver-studded Blue butterflies still around, albeit past their best.
The pond which showed such promise last time and gave me my first real Black Darter & Emerald Damselfly moments was now barely a puddle. However the above suspects were holding ground within the surrounding heather, along with a female Keeled Skimmer
Such a fine morning deserved a trip to Crockford and I had decided to follow upstream as far as Two Bridges Bottom. Within 15 minutes of my stroll I encountered 3 male Golden-ringed and a further 4 further upstream.
Also gracing the stream were Southern Damsels, Beautiful Demoiselles, Keeled Skimmers and the odd Common Darter. At Two Bridges Bottom pond were more Keeled, Commons and a patrolling Emperor.
Back downstream at the ford were another male Emperor, an ovipositing female, more Golden-ringed, Keeled, Beautiful Demoiselles and Southern Damselflies.
By the time I had made it back to the main area the Golden-ringed count had reached 19 – at least 11 being separate individuals.
Still this prime area is lousy on the damsel front, but at least there was a male Emperor patrolling the main pool. After a quick shufty around the gorse thickets I sat on the bank and watched the antics of the Golden-ringed, Keeled Skimmers and the few Small Red Damsels among the Bog Myrtle.
It was at this point a male Golden-ringed decided to perch on my right knee. Sat there a while, got up and landed on my left knee, flew around a bit and returned to my right knee where he sat quite happily while I rattled off a few shots.
His best perch though was on a twig within the stream.
Shortly afterwards I heard the unmistakable sound of Keeled Skimmers in cop.
Having spent 3 hours enjoying the full delights of Crockford, I decided to head over to Badminston Common in the hope of seeing a few Hawkers. As soon as I entered ‘Hawker Alley’ I observed a female Migrant and a male Southern patrolling the ride – neither stopping for a photo opportunity.
The Gravel Pits were decidedly barren, with only the eastern end containing any water. The only species present – and in small numbers – were Common Darters and Common Blue Damsels. In fact the common itself contained the most action.
On the way home I popped into my favourite pond to see the water levels have dropped still further with one side now completely dry.
Just 2 male Emperors, a few Emerald and Common Blue Damsels and surprisingly a male Broad-bodied Chaser battling with a couple of Keeled Skimmers. On the way out a female Broad-bodied Chaser was flying off over the gorse.
Making the most of the fine weather on Tuesday I headed over to Blashford Lakes in the hope of seeing a Brown Hawker or 2. I saw 6 while walking the rides and clearings, but wish I’d saved my energy because there was a male patrolling the centre pond.
Once he disappeared he was replaced by a male Southern Hawker.
I decided to call in at a pond I discovered earlier in the year near Linford and on the walk in was surrounded by Keeled Skimmers in the channels either side of the path.
Thinking the dry conditions would make the going easier, I made my way down to the pond and was still hampered by boggy channels – again filled with Keeled Skimmers. Over the pond was the obligatory male Emperor and a former opponent taking refuge in the grass.
Other species present were Common Blue, Emerald and Small Red Damselflies – always a pleasure to find new locations for the latter.
Wednesday was another fine day, but for some reason not good for dragonflies. I spent the first part of the morning walking around the coast at at Keyhaven and spotted not one! Even at the pond activity was muted with only a couple of Emperors patrolling along with a few Common Darters and Small Red-eyed Damselflies.
There were the obligatory Blue-tailed’s and a couple of Beautiful Demoiselles around but it was a rather disappointing morning considering the weather, but perhaps the high humidity had something to do with it?
Or maybe you can have too much of a good thing, after all it had been a fantastic week all things considered. Thursday promised rain and delivered in buckets, which is good for the water levels so hopefully a few favourite ponds will now return to their former glory.