On Monday I paid a visit to Bentley Wood in the hope of catching a glimpse and maybe photographing the elusive Purple Emperor butterfly, but on the way I stopped off at Carsbrook Common near Romsey to investigate. This site had all but been taken over by a local authority tip, but the ponds are still there for now and relatively early in the day I was greeted with a Small Red-eyed Damselfly perched on the pond-side vegetation
This was one of the species on my list for this year and I had intended to visit Testwood if I had time that day for precisely that reason, so this unexpected sighting and photo opportunity was the first major highlight of the day.
While at Bentley Wood I made my usual pilgrimage to the two ponds where Downy Emeralds, Broad-bodied Chasers and Emperors were flying. However at the top pond there were spent exuviae on the reeds and on further searching, two freshly-emerged Southern Hawkers attached to the pontoon.
These opportunities were another highlight of the day and shortly afterwards I was even more lucky to encounter that elusive Purple Emperor butterfly. Photos of this encounter can be found on my Flickr page (see panel to the right)
Elated at my good fortune I almost forgot to visit Testwood, but remembered just in time and headed to the centre pond where indeed there was a Small Red-eyed on the pond as well as an ovipositing female Emperor
All in all a cracking day!