Bentley Broods while Bramshill Blossoms

The satisfaction I received from such a bountiful day in the Somerset Levels satisfied my cravings for a whole week. Certainly the weather didn’t inspire me enough to venture out knowing that the majority of us still have to reach our Spring bounty.

Usually by this time you can be guaranteed a day of splendor at most ponds given a warm, sunny day. We didn’t have one of those days on Sunday in Bentley Wood, but it was by no means bad to begin with. I was certainly expecting a lot more to keep me occupied, even if it was just some fun with the damsels, but even here the pickings were less than slim.

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) - male
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) – male

Just a dozen or so Azures and even less Large Red. Just the two Blue-tailed and no sign of any Four-spotted or Broad-bodied Chasers although did have a passing visit from a Downy Emerald before the clouds rolled in, and we received a grand soaking on the way back to the car.

The weather looked promising on Monday, but looked better on Tuesday, and a day to warm up should kick-start some action. An early start at Bramshill to make the most of it found tenerals rising from the water, a fabulous sight which continued all day and made a change from the showers of seeds and pollen filling the rides.

Most of these tenerals rose high and made for the trees, while those without such self-assurance alighted on the nearest refuge, me included. I could’ve made a day of teneral chasing but I did have a purpose today; to chase down a Downy or two.

There were certainly a few rising with my passing down hawker alley, and one or two even provided a moments hope as they circled but they decided to fly beyond my reach. I saw a few more along the rides but the rides belonged to the Beautiful Demoiselles today. Hundreds of them dancing in the sheltered, sunny clearings.

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) - male
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) – male

When I returned to Long Lake I bumped into Mike Barnett at the shoreline and decided to join him grabbing more than a moments enjoyment perched in the shallows determined to capture one of these elusive Downy Emeralds while they were on the wing.

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea) - male in-flight
Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea) – male in-flight

Satisfied I’d got my prize I decided to continue by transect around the other shoreline and through the jungle. Still plenty of tenerals rising but with the clouds drawing in all water action had more or less ceased. I spent a little time with one of the Four-spotted Chasers before deciding to call it a day.

Four-spotted Chaser  (Libellula quadrimaculata) - teneral female)
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) – teneral female)

On the way out I bumped into Aaron Cook (and Molly of course) rounding off the day with a good chat and some plans for the near future. Watch this space.