After studying the forecast every closely for 24 hours, we were still hopeful there would be a reasonable amount of sun to entice the insects out. The drive across the forest looked promising, but when we arrived at Pennington a dull blanket of cloud put everything in shadow. A gusty wind cooled temperatures further and my mood began to reflect the climate.

We did a full round of the first pond and at least found a few Large Red, one Blue-tailed and a couple of Azures.

Azure Damselfly - Immature male
Azure Damselfly – Immature male
Azure Damselfly – Immature male
Azure Damselfly – Immature male

The other ponds produced nothing, but I should imagine there were some Blue-tailed buried down to escape the wind. We did have a fine display of Sand Martins carpet-bombing the surface of the water.

Crockford was another disappointment, although we did see the sun briefly and an immature female Beautiful Demoiselle. Oh, and about 20 Large Red sheltering in a gorse bush.

More Large Red at Hatchet Pond, but absolutely nothing else. Choices? Where next? I had meant to visit Badminston if the weather was good enough, but decided to leave it until some decent weather arrives.

Instead we decided to end the day with a visit to one of the few places in the New Forest where Pearl-bordered Fritillary are still found. We hadn’t been there for 4 years!

At least we were greeted by a sunny spell. Brief, but enough to show a couple. Sue saw the first, but lost sight of it before I got there. And then suddenly I saw the unmistakeable orange vibrancy of a fresh male perched on an old tree stump.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary - Male
Pearl-bordered Fritillary – Male

He wouldn’t allow me to get too close, and led me a merry dance across the clearing before settling low down and presumably out of view from my prying eyes. I persevered as this was the only opportunity I have this afternoon.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Pearl-bordered Fritillary

So, despite the disappointing weather, a few shots to come home with.