Sunshine & Surprises

Saturday 19th September

On arrival at Bramshill we bumped into Mike; a chap I’ve met on a couple of occasions but not immediately recognised, for which I apologise – it’s hard to remember faces at the best of times, but from the seat of a car can be even more difficult! So hello to you sir!

Those responsible for the management of Bramshill Plantation have done a sterling job clearing out the saplings which were threatening to consume the clearing with the ponds. My only criticism is maybe you were a little vigilant removing the gorse stand between the two eastern pools. Still, a vast improvement and I’m sure come next Spring there will be enough new growth to offer refuge.

Perhaps because of the recent shearing the usually busy pools were missing their usual activity; just the one Common Darter and one male Migrant along with a scattering of Common Blue and Common Emerald.

Migrant Hawker - male in-flight
Migrant Hawker – male in-flight

However that elusive hidden pond had plenty to keep us busy for an hour. Two male Migrant, two male and a female Southern, an  Emperor (!), several of the former damsels and a fair showing of Ruddy Darter. I spent a good while coaxing one of the Southerns towards the background of moss; against the sun, but worth it.

Southern Hawker - male in flight
Southern Hawker – male in flight

At one point a female Southern flew in and did a circuit before one of the males found her and they frustratingly rose over and above the treeline – something which was to be repeated a little later. The only large species I had left was a resting male Migrant.

Migrant Hawker - male
Migrant Hawker – male

The strange perching behaviour  of the Migrant. I’ve not see many other hawkers perch this way up except the odd Emperor…oh, and a rather surprised Brown Hawker I surprised last year. I wonder if it’s a size or weight thing? I’d certainly be interested to hear of any other hawker examples?

With most of my subjects gone we decided to take a walk along the shores of Long Pond. On the way through we disturbed a perched male Southern Hawker who rose and settled  close by.

Southern Hawker - male
Southern Hawker – male

As I was choosing a pleasing composition a small, ugly black cloud turned the ride to darkness; dropping the ambient temperature several degrees from which the rest of the afternoon never fully recovered.

The results were immediately apparent along the north shore of Long Pond, with only a couple of Migrant and a few Common Darters visible along the path. Unsurprisingly the water’s edge was devoid of any action except for a couple of Migrant intermittently sharing the western corner.

We decided to return to the ponds only to find they too had all but been deserted; just a female Southern scouring the edge before being whisked away by a male, again right over the treeline. Still a few Ruddy around though.

Ruddy Darter - male
Ruddy Darter – male

Except for another male Southern along the path, that was it for the day. A successful day though…at least for the first hour.