I’m finding it a little difficult to catch up this week. A perfect period of sunny weather has seen me out in the field rather than hunched over a PC. Instead of a huge multi-day post I’ve decided to break it down into smaller portions.
Tuesday 10th June
I’d already planned a revisit to Bramshill Plantation to build on my scouting trip last week. My prime objective was to find access to another pond, a task that proved very tricky without the benefit of local knowledge, but nevertheless provided some fantastic areas of interest
.I began by trying to locate the opening where I saw two chaps exit on the previous visit, and my first attempt led me into a superb scrubby clearing. I must have disturbed at least half-a-dozen Emperors, countless Black-tailed Skimmers, Four-spotted Chasers and a fine host of Damsels.
I could’ve spent the day in this clearing alone, but I was focused on locating the pond which still eluded me! I ended up going around in an extended circle, leading right back to where I entered.
Slightly miffed, but unperturbed, I attempted to find another entrance by back-tracking and circling to the north, only to find a fence and ditch thwarting any attempt. I followed the track to the east and found an opening which was a sort-of path, albeit littered with fallen trees and foot-wrenching scrub.
However once I fought my way through I found myself on the northern shore; a nice, large area brimming with teneral Black-tailed Skimmers and a wealth of other surprises.
I spent some time in this area searching the scrub and investigating the shore, noticing a couple of beach-type accessible areas on the opposite bank. But how to get there? Certainly not from here as the far side of the clearing was a frustrating cul-de-sac. I fought my way back to the eastern track and continued looking for other points of entry, until I reached the track which runs to the north of Long Water.
While searching the small clearings opposite the shore I noticed a teasing gap near the far end. Here at last was a way in. The water’s edge was alive with Common Blue, Azure, Blue-tailed and Red-eyed Damselflies with Four-spotted Chasers and Black-tailed Skimmers battling with each other and the occasional Emperor.
The second little beach had more of the same and my attention was grabbed by a rustling in the reeds. Further investigation revealed a female Emperor who had seized an unfortunate Four-spotted Chaser. She precariously rose with her substantial prey and alighted a short distance away.
As I was grabbing a few shots I was audibly aware of her crunching away the head and starting in on the thorax. I always thought the wings would be discarded first, but as you can see the wings are still attached. She allowed me enough time before rising again – out of reach..
On the third little shoreline I had a male Downy fly through briefly while I concentrated on some Red-eyed opportunities.
Returning to Long Water I explored the southern shore, finding endless enjoyment from the increased activity with every new sunny spell. This is what it’s all about, and I wasted many minutes until returning to the car for a spot of lunch.
I knew immediately as soon as I returned to the car I’d get itchy feet for Warren Heath, which was to close to ignore. I avoided any attempt to search the upper valley and instead concentrated on the path along the stream to see what wonders it would throw up today.
At least the activity on the water was better than a week ago, if still a little subdued. Unfortunately no showing of Brilliant Emerald today, but a Downy kept me occupied.
Coming up next – Scarce Blue-tailed Delight At Latchmore