After the excitement and associated pressure of Whixall Moss I needed to reconnect with odonata without the distractions of being part of a group, no matter how enjoyable the company.
Maybe it’s peer pressure or a higher threshold of satisfaction, but I didn’t feel I performed at my best and came home with a shot of the day. Or maybe I’m being too self critical! No matter, there will always be another chance.
I took a couple of days rest to reflect and calm down before needing to get out on my own on Wednesday, and as I haven’t been for over a week I naturally chose Bramshill. I’m determined to visit at least once a week to get a feel for this magnificent site and compare it to last season, and so far it continues to impress.
I wasn’t blessed with the best conditions on arrival, and checking out the small ponds might have been a tad premature considering the lack of sun, although it was hot and humid. Nothing but a few damsels testing the waters, but I did find a roosting Emperor.
Not the most comfortable conditions to embark on a walk, but as over-water activity is minimal in such conditions it made sense to do a little foraging. Hawker Alley didn’t throw up the wished-for perched Downy and the main rides were mostly lacking.
Once I’d reached the other pond things improved with some Blue-tailed and Common Blue decorating the grass fringes, and it was here I encountered a beautifully-fresh and not long emerged male Emperor, resplendent in his immature colours.
A little further on is a triangular clearing with a small stream running through, a couple of displaying male Banded Demoiselles flew above while down in the scrub were a selection of damsels and another Emperor. I find the surrounding grasses are usually better for photo opportunities.
The walk back to Long Pond was mostly uneventful and the sun was trying to break through The waterside had come alive with Four-spotted Chasers, a few Downy and a couple of Emperor joining the hundreds of Common Blue, Red-eyed, Large Red and Azure. The tenerals were still rising with most following the updraft into the canopy, but occasionally one would take the nearest option.
There were a few more Emperors patrolling with the arrival of a sunny spell, and naturally I had to engage a little.
A final check of the small ponds produced mainly Four-spotted Chasers and a selection of damselflies. No Hairy today, which means that they’ve passed their peak but no doubt there will still be a few stragglers around until the end of the month when the Emperor reins supreme and the Brown Hawker will provide more than a welcome challenge.