There’s no doubt it’s been a fantastic Spring and Summer; and those new to the delights of dragonflies have had a sensational opportunity to enjoy their splendour at their best.
This season I’ve mainly kept the entries thematic; concentrating on one location or species. As I stare out of my window into the back end of Hurricane Bertha it’s probably the ideal time to catch up on a few unreported days.
Emperors have certainly had a fantastic season with high populations seen almost everywhere. They remain one of my favourite species to capture in-flight.
Other success stories this season have been Ruddy Darter and Emerald Damselflies, both seemingly expanding their range.
The Friday before our trip to Somerset, Doug and I investigated an area on the Avon flood plain near Christchurch which proved to be fabulous site for Brown Hawkers. Didn’t make them any easier to pin down, although I did manage a perched female before my D90 failed.
The following day at Priddy was dominated by the Moorland Hawkers, but this female Emperor provided an excellent opportunity for close observation as she deposited her eggs at the edge of the pool.
I’ve regretfully failed to take full advantage of Ober Water this summer, but at least had a small chance to witness the delights when a friend from the north paid a visit a couple of weeks back.
This past week has been a tad disappointing. It’s as if the long, hot dry spell has produced a burn-out, with populations diminished, ponds dry and even the swarms of unapproachable Brown Hawkers looking the worst for wear.
Besides the Avon flood plain, Blashford Lakes have produced the finest displays of the latter, but pinning one down has been difficult. The lakes are also home to a good population of Red-eyed Damselflies.
While searching in vain for a repeat sighting of the elusive Lesser Emperor earlier in the week we came across this fabulously pristine male (Common) Emperor, proof that this show off should be around for a while yet.
Still plenty of females ovipositing around the shore, this one conveniently offering a perched opportunity.
A frustrating scout around Langham Lakes on Wednesday failed to produce much, but at least Troublefield provided a fine Golden-ringed opportunity.
And so up to date with a stroll around Swanwick Nature Reserve yesterday afternoon.
After giving this reserve such a good write up this year, I’m disappointed to report that someone in their misguided wisdom has prematurely razed the small clearing to the ground, severely compromising a fine feeding and roosting area which should have provided some prime late season odonata activity.
If anyone from the reserve is reading this I would be grateful if you could e-mail me with a good reason why you thought it was a good idea to ruin this invertebrate haven so early in the season?
Robbed of what should’ve been some fine opportunities, we continued to the far meadow where we were entertained by a couple of female Migrant Hawkers ‘hawking’ around the trees; one at least landing briefly.
Just enough time to grab a perched shot before she rose and joined her companion for a further round of relentless hawking.
Hopefully some of the ponds benefit from this storm, with levels replenished enough to provide some fine hawker spectacles in the days to come.
This fabulous season isn’t over yet…