Forest Awakenings

It was inevitable we should have a period of miserable weather after a striking early Spring. Anxiously waiting for a shift, I tentatively continued to check a few local sources – including some not visited for years.

After the delights of Durley in my last posting I jumped the gun a little at Itchen Valley Country Park. Nothing to show except a couple of Large Red. Not a Banded to be seen anywhere, but the meadows remain exceedingly wet.

The ‘local’ pond threw up a few more Large Red, but nothing different (yet), and a scout around Hamble Common revealed a good possibility for action later in the season. Since I last visited there appears to be greater access to a brackish pond fed by one of the numerous inlets.

On a more positive note a visit to a very foggy Swanwick Lakes yesterday morning in hope of a Downy did at least provide one emerging female Red-eyed Damselfly.

Red-eyed Damselfly - female with exuvia
Red-eyed Damselfly – female with exuvia

Buoyed up by this encounter I was looking forward to a New Forest transect in the afternoon, taking in Pennington, Crockford and Hatchet Pond. Pennington proved to be the most prolific with plenty of Beautiful Demoiselles, the expected gathering of Large Red, a scattering of Azure, only a few (surprisingly) Blue-tailed and the second female Red-eyed encountered this day.

Red-eyed Damselfly - female
Red-eyed Damselfly – female

I did hope for a Hairy or two. Not to be, but at least a very wet Crockford provided by first Broad-bodied Chaser of the season.

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

Just the one, and she gave me the run-around! The only other odos at Crockford today were a few Large Red.

Large Red Damselfly - female
Large Red Damselfly – female

A transect of Hatchet Small Pond didn’t reveal any hoped-for Downy, but did at least provide me with a Common Blue.

Common Blue Damselfly - immature female
Common Blue Damselfly – immature female

So 3 new species today bringing my total to 8, which is rather outstanding for April. Here’s to a prolific May!

Note:- It is still exceedingly wet in the New Forest, so I advise anyone planning a visit to some key sites to wait a while until the waters recede.