Trying to curb my natural desire to get out as quickly as possible I took a leisurely approach on Thursday, arriving at Bramshill at around 11.30am. Instead of heading to the ponds first I decided to check out ‘hawker alley’ in the hope of finding a Downy. On the way through I had a couple of Four-spotted Chasers cross over from the lake to the sanctity of the treeline; they’re always wary in their teneral state.
When I arrived at the main track I paused for a polite conversation with a dog walker and was immediately distracted as a Downy flew overhead. Thankfully once pleasantries were over I noticed another changing position low in the path-side vegetation.
Not the best of positions, but better than nothing as her next choice was at least 100 metres away at height. I saw one more along the track before returning to Long Lake. This side of the shore was still waking up so I headed into the overgrown depths of the thicket. Once I’d navigated to the shore the air exploded with teneral Large Red, Common Blue and Red-eyed, the latter in far bigger numbers this week.
The small ponds didn’t produce anything of interest although Mike had spotted some Hairy during his Thursday visit. Feeling that the rides might be a better option, I decided to take a long walk in search of some other water bodies to the east.
The one I was looking for turned out to be a mostly shaded, but the exercise had produced a greater insight into Bramshill, with some access to the shore of another lake where another Downy was spotted, and some rather marvelous sheltered rides and clearings. In one of these clearings I came across my first Broad-bodied Chaser of the season.
Returning to the promising pond found last year (and visited last week) there were a few more damsels around the grassy margins, but the surprise came in the form of a beautifully new Four-spotted Chaser, rising from the shore and thankfully choosing a perch low enough to get to.
By now the sun was hiding behind some heavy cloud and I decided to call it a day.
On Friday I decided to head west to Troublefield to see if it had woken up. The meadow is still wet and still a little immature on the flower front, but I chose the right day to witness the awakening of the Beautiful Demoiselles.
At Ramsdown the wind was a problem. Just the one FSC spotted and a few Large Red, so cutting the visit short I decided to check out the large pond near Ringwood. The wind was also a problem here, but it did allow me to engage properly with some Blue-tailed.
One more week and we’ll be sorted!