Southern Accents

On Saturday I decided to visit a few sites in the South of the New Forest, hoping at least to find some shelter from a very stiff breeze. First call was Rushbush Pond. A reccie of the extensive gorse thicket close to the road failed to reveal anything of interest, and I had to wait until I approached the pond itself before I saw anything other than moths.

A few Common Blue and Large Red Damsels were huddled in the young heather and a few Four-spotted Chasers were seen lifting only to be carried away on the breeze. A favourite corner at least produced a vibrant female Broad-bodied Chaser.

Broad-bodied Chaser - female
Broad-bodied Chaser – female

In truth 9.30am was a little too early, but after a couple of days rest I was eager to get out.
Next stop Badminston Common, which revealed the usual Large Red and Common Blue.

Common Blue Damselfly - male
Common Blue Damselfly – male

I had hoped to see a Hairy, or maybe an Emperor, but the the only larger game braving the breeze over water was a Four-spotted Chaser.

Four-spotted Chaser - male
Four-spotted Chaser – male

It was along the path that I found something different. Hopping from one terrestrial perch to another was the welcome sight of a male Black-tailed Skimmer.

Black-tailed Skimmer - male
Black-tailed Skimmer – male

I’d forgotten how infuriating they can be with their habit of landing on the ground. I had considered lying down to get some depth, but as I couldn’t complete the manoeuvre in the two seconds he perched, I chose to kneel.

Next stop Pennington and I’m pleased to report it’s woken up considerably since my last visit. Along with the usual suspects there were a good number of Red-eyed in tandem over the water. Blue-tailed were disappointedly low in number, but several Beautiful and a couple of Banded Demoiselles brightened up the foliage.

At the far end a couple of male Black-tailed Skimmers were holding court, and patrolling the middle and other end were a couple of Downy Emeralds and, most welcome, a couple of male Hairy Dragonflies – the first I’ve managed to see this season. I tried, and failed, to grab a shot as they sporadically appeared to weave in & out of the reeds at a frantic pace.

On the way back I called into Crockford, because driving past would be unforgivable. Still wet & muddy from the Spring and the topping up from Friday’s thundery showers. A few Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers were patrolling the pools and occasionally a teneral Keeled Skimmer rose from the heather. Along the stream itself were a very few Beautiful Demoiselles and the inevitable Large Red.

Large Red Damseflies - male & female in tandem
Large Red Damseflies – male & female in tandem

Showing well in the shelter of the bank were several Southern Damselflies.

Southern Damselfly - male
Southern Damselfly – male

So three new species added this season, the elusive Hairy being the highlight.