Saturday 8th August
A change in the weather forced a change of day for an outing with Doug. Our Priddy trip postponed, we stayed local and visited a new favourite pond of mine which I reserve the right to remain silent about to respect those who wish to keep it quiet.
There’s nothing to beat spending a whole afternoon at one pond, providing of course there is enough action to keep you busy. Although a little quieter than last time, there were still a fair few male Emperor to give some fabulous aeronautics.
Naturally there was a female or two present to keep the males competing. Unfortunately for them (and us) she was unreceptive to any advance, and showed it fiercely. Deadlier than the male indeed.
Around the margins there were a good population of Ruddy and Common Darters to keep us amused, and a high concentration of Common Emeralds representing the damselflies.
It wasn’t long before they were joined by a male Southern. He chose his small territory close to shore and was happy to show the Emperor there was a new kid on the block, and he wasn’t backing down.
This was primarily what we were here for. The Southern Hawker has long been a favourite for in-flighters, and they make a pleasant change from the Emperor.
A most surprising and welcome visit was from a female Brown Hawker. Two visits by I’m assuming the same individual, but she needed somewhere a little quieter.
The Emperors were content themselves, and during one violent encounter a male was thrown to the water. Dunked. There can be varying results from a defeat like this; sometimes they are too weak to break themselves free from the surface tension, and other times they recover enough to nurse their wounds on a nearby perch.
Thankfully they are a little easier to approach after a defeat, and you can see from this and other encounters he’s received substantial damage to his abdomen, wings and, if you look closely, has lost one of his anal appendages.
No more coupling for this poor chap.
The Southern disappeared for a while, allowing some time to pursue those beautiful little Ruddy Darters, which are so infrequent in the New Forest.
Another grand afternoon at the pond.