At Last! The Great Awakening!

All we needed was a succession of sunny days to allow a rise in temperatures to kick start the dragonfly season in style. Gently at first with a smattering of Large Red followed by Common Blue, Red-eyed, Blue-tailed and even Four-spotted Chasers at Bramshill mid-week.

My first trip to Bramshill on Wednesday was more of a scout just to see what was about. Just a few large Red around the small ponds, and a fair smattering in the sheltered areas bordering the lakes. I was hoping for a Blue-tailed, Common Blue or even a Red-eyed, but it wasn’t going to happen for me today.

Large Red (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) - male
Large Red (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) – male

I bumped into Mike Barnett for a joint effort early on and later at the pond area where I found him stalking a Four-spotted Chaser which unfortunately flew into the treeline before either of us could attempt a shot!

Next morning I received an e-mail from Mike asking for ID on some photos he’d managed while we were off on separate paths only to find the lucky sod had bagged a Red-eyed! That and the FSC more or less guaranteed a return visit Thursday.

Thursday turned out to be a far more enjoyable and productive day with my first Red-eyed of the season bagged.

Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) - immature female
Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) – immature female

Large Red were predictably in larger numbers and while we were staring across the reeds another Four-spotted Chaser flew across the reed tops on a mission known only to itself. No worries…at least I managed to increase my season count once more with a Common Blue.

Common Blue ((Enallagma cyathigerum) - immature male
Common Blue ((Enallagma cyathigerum) – immature male

The south-east shore of Long Lake was all but empty of life on Wednesday, but on Thursday there were a lot of tenerals rising to the trees. A search of the shoreline provided a fresh Blue-tailed. Three new species in one day? I call that a result!

On Saturday afternoon Sue & I took a trip to Swanwick where life had tentatively began with a few Large Red and Azure if you looked hard enough.

Azure (Coenagrion puella) - immature female
Azure (Coenagrion puella) – immature female

Hamble Valley was much better. No sooner had we reached the top of the bank that the sight of a fresh Beautiful Demoiselle rose into the treeline. They’re here then. Let’s delve a little deeper.

The wooded shore is steep, boggy and sometimes treacherous, but that didn’t stop me searching every nook & cranny for an individual which would stay still for long enough to focus on in this dappled light and shadow.

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) - immature female
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) – immature female

Another result and a cracking week where everything happened at once. That’s just how I like it. Reports from elsewhere reveal Broad-bodied Chasers, Hairy Dragonfly, Downy Emerald and even White-faced Darter, so the season is well under way.