2015 Review – Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3.

July began with  a delightfully-posed Blue-tailed at Pennington.

Blue-tailed damselfly (Ischnura elegans) – male
Blue-tailed damselfly (Ischnura elegans) – male

Calling into Crockford on the way back I bumped into Stephen Darlington. Always a pleasure to meet friends in the field. The Golden-ringed were showing well and even the Keeled Skimmer (even keeled?) provided a pleasant opportunity.

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) - male
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) – male

The next great day came at Bramshill where I was delighted to find a patrolling Brilliant Emerald holding territory over one of the small pools.

Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica) - male in-flight
Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica) – male in-flight

July’s weather proved to be a little miscreant, and very frustrating in what was prime summer season, so I had to content myself with a few local jaunts. At least I managed to connect with those Red-veined Darters again.

Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) - male
Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) – male

To round off the month I met Jerry (Hawker) for an amble along Ober where despite the lack of action there were still some delights to be had, while August began with a bang with a trip to Essex and a brand new species for me, the quite spectacular Blue-eyed (Southern Migrant) Hawker.

Blue-eyed Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - male
Blue-eyed Hawker (Aeshna affinis) – male

The very next day Sue & I finally met up with Aaron Cook at Bramshill for a spot of filming on what turned out to be an ideal sunny day. Highlights included finding a colony of Small Red-eyed and some magnificent shows by the Emperor.

Emperor (Anax imperator) - male in-flight
Emperor (Anax imperator) – male in-flight

Even a Common Darter provided a pleasing opportunity.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) - male
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) – male

A few days later I completed the Hampshire species list with a Moorland Hawker at Ramsdown, so provided the weather allowed I could indulge for the rest of the season. Prime hawker season is always a favourite time to spend hours at one site, and Town Common provided a fabulous Black Darter opportunity.

Black Darter (Sympetrum danae)  - pair in cop
Black Darter (Sympetrum danae) – pair in cop

One of my fondest memories from August was watching a female Moorland Hawker spend a long while flying high above a pond waiting for the coast to clear. Fully aware from previous encounters of how shy the female is, I remained still allowing her to accept my presence and provide a marvelous opportunity as she laid her burden in front of me.

Moorland Hawker (Aeshna juncea)  - female
Moorland Hawker (Aeshna juncea) – female

A return visit to Bentley Wood provided some excellent damselfly opportunities, including the photogenic Common Emerald.

Common Emerald (Lestes sponsa) - male
Common Emerald (Lestes sponsa) – male

The day also provided plenty of time to reacquaint with the playful Southern Hawker.

Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) - male in-flight
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) – male in-flight

A few days later I finally managed to catch up with the male Moorland Hawker at Ramsdown.

Moorland Hawker (Aeshna juncea) - male in-flight
Moorland Hawker (Aeshna juncea) – male in-flight

At the start of the month I was asked which was my favourite dragonfly. At the time I chose the Southern Hawker because they have provided many hours of enjoyment, but I have to admit a great affection for the Moorland; probably because of the hours spent in pursuit over the years.

It just goes to show how difficult it is to choose favourites.