Mid September and another season which appears to have passed by far too quickly. It doesn’t seem long at all since the first Large Red damselflies at Studland back in April, yet those glorious days of splendour at Ober Water seem like a distant memory. Although it’s my fifth season engrossed in dragonflies, the season’s end always catches me out either going out positively with some late wonders or fizzles out leaving you wondering quite what happened.
Maybe it’s a little too soon to call time just yet…at least let’s wait until the end of the month before settling in to a long winter. There is promise of fair weather to end the month and hopefully this will provide a satisfying day or two to round off. I’m personally hoping that these prolonged periods of showers will raise the water levels sufficiently to spend a satisfying afternoon at the pond.
Until then there are still a couple of other places which need to be visited this month, not least Badminston which was certainly a highlight last September. Taking advantage of a dry day with at least some sunshine, we called in on Thursday afternoon in the hope of bagging a few Ruddy Darters. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be. Not one encountered during our visit. Even Common Darters were noticeably few, with only a couple spotted by Sue and a male patrolling the corner section where we set up camp.
On a more positive note the Common Blue damselflies seemed to be doing well with good numbers along the track and several over water, some in tandem. There were even a few tenerals sheltering among the foliage. Hawker Alley at least lived up to its nickname with a Southern and several Migrants lining the path. Unexpectedly my first sightings were a mating pair.
Unsurprisingly Migrants were the dominant species of the day with several pairings, a few ovipositing females and around half-a-dozen patrolling males. Certainly something to sink our teeth into, but in reality the numbers were way down on the same time last year. I had hoped for a session of in-flight practice, but this proved difficult to achieve with most of the potential subjects either patrolling low among the reeds or briefly flying into the open areas which by now were in shade.
This left the mating pairs, who at least provided plenty of exercise pinning them down. Their preferred perches were in the bushes along the far back which were only accessible by wading in, offering the extra challenge of watching my footing while keeping an eye on my quarry.
We did have a male Southern fly in a couple of times, inspect me briefly at close quarters before chasing off one of the male Migrants. Certainly not a playful individual. With increasing cloud, a noticeable drop in temperature and no further sunny spells, we called time, stopping briefly at Gang Warily pond where a decent number of Common Blue damselflies were in attendance.
Some Good News For Badminston
Attached to one of the gates was a planning notice from New Forest Council with ‘Major Development’ in brackets. This proposed development was a little vague, so I took a shot of the notice in order to do some further research when we arrived home. Our findings were surprisingly hopeful.
Instead of finding our feared plans for a major housing development or other potential disaster, the proposal was for a major restoration of the workings to its previous agricultural usage and the gravel pits themselves to a permanent wetland habitat surrounded by acid grassland.
Certainly the outlined maps look very promising.
From what we can gather the restoration work will commence on the 20th of September, which should hopefully mean we will experience the results next season.