Old Friends

Friday 31st July

Jerry came down to bag a Golden-ringed or two, so we met at Crockford just before 10.00am. The car park was open a day before scheduled, but this was probably to accommodate the twitchers who had been there all week after a sighting of a Red-backed Shrike.

We didn’t stir much up on the walk in, but there was a male Golden-ringed at the basin which graciously posed for a shot or two.

Golden-ringed - male
Golden-ringed – male

Annoyingly a large, black ribbon of cloud killed all activity on our walk upstream, but when the sun did eventually reappear things were still rather subdued. Numbers have been down all across the forest; not just in comparison to last year’s excellent season, but generally.

There were only a few Southern Damselflies, even fewer Small Red and most surprisingly only a few Keeled Skimmers. At this time of year you should expect to see hundreds of the latter, with at least half-a-dozen bullying any passing Golden-ringed.

As we were about to move on I realised I’d left my flask upstream, so I returned to retrieve it. By now the sun had broken through and there was a Golden-ringed holding territory on the channel while an Emperor paraded around the ford.

We decided to move on to Ober Water, a great favourite of mine and a place which Jerry was anxious to visit again. By now the cloud had dispersed and for the most part our walk was bathed in sunlight. A family of Buzzards calling in the trees and occasionally lifting on the thermals gave promise to some dragonfly activity.

Entering from Puttles for a change, we crossed the heath before finding the gap through the trees to cross the stream. What is usually a rather busy area was somewhat disappointing, and the small pool a little further failed to provide a Golden-ringed.

Even the usually busy section close to the bog outflow was very subdued, but at least we found some opportunities among the grasses and Bog Myrtle.

Small Red - pair in cop
Small Red – pair in cop

Turning inland at Rhinefield we found an obliging male Keeled Skimmer who kept us amused, and invited a little friendly competition to see who could get the cleanest green background.

Keeled Skimmer - male
Keeled Skimmer – male

A convenient buttercup provided a little spotlight.

Keeled Skimmer - male
Keeled Skimmer – male

Other than these we had a couple of passing Golden-ringed, a few Beautiful Demoiselles and very few Southern Damselflies. In fact the only species in good numbers today were the White-legged, which this year appear to be thriving here.

Not a great selection then, but that only made each encounter more valuable. Good sites, good company, good day.

The pint afterwards was merely a bonus 🙂