Bank Holiday Bonus

On Sunday I took a trip out to Bentley Woods for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary; I didn’t even bother with the ponds. On the way back I called into Cadnam Common to check on progress and it still feels rather sleepy. Surprised I didn’t see any Large Red, but at least I was rewarded with half-a-dozen fresh Broad-bodied Chasers.

Broad-bodied Chaser - immature female
Broad-bodied Chaser – immature female

Still no Four-spotted Chasers yet, so on Bank Holiday Monday I revisited Titchfield Haven – usually a good early site for them. An early start – arriving at 10.00am to make the most of the remaining sun. There was a brisk SE wind spoiling most of the preferred sheltering areas of the pond.

Large Red Damselfly - female feeding
Large Red Damselfly – female feeding

Large Red were by far the most numerous, closely followed by Azure.

Azure Damselfly - Immature female
Azure Damselfly – Immature female

Surprisingly still low numbers of Blue-tailed compared with my first visit this year. Almost as soon as I arrived there was a male Hairy weaving in and out of the pond reeds, my other hope for today. This is the first time this season I have seen activity over the pond, with a few Large Red joining him during the sunnier moments.

After frequently losing sight of my quarry I explored the undergrowth searching for something interesting, and over at the other pond I disturbed a fresh Four-spotted Chaser, losing it as it floated across the channel. Now I knew they were there.

It was while I was using my fingers to gently part the foliage that I spotted my prize of the day, not quite believing what I was seeing. Calmly perched behind some leaves (I need to find the name of the plant) was a male Hairy – quite possibly the one entertaining me earlier.

I snapped a couple of record shots of the head and thorax before (very gently) changing position for a better angle

Hairy Dragonfly - male
Hairy Dragonfly – male

Satisfied with getting my prize I took another wander, hoping to find another Four-apotted. Once again fine-combing the undergrowth I spotted my first Banded Demoiselle of the season; a tad surprised I hadn’t seen one sooner. A Beautiful Blue male who gave me the run-around before I could get a shot I was satisfied with.

Banded Demoiselle - male
Banded Demoiselle – male

While I was going in for another try a Four-spotted Chaser flew over my head and landed on one of the reeds in the pond. An incredibly annoying position, made even more difficult by me plunging thigh-deep into the water.

Four-spotted Chaser - teneral male
Four-spotted Chaser – teneral male

Not the best shot but the only chance I had. As I squelched back to the seat I briefly wondered if it was worth it considering there’ll be swarms of them and far easier to photograph in a few weeks. But that’s not the way it goes early season. This is after all what I love to do.

So another excellent result with 2 new species added to the list for this season, making 11 to date.

2 Replies to “Bank Holiday Bonus”

  1. A beautiful selection of shots, Paul. It makes me quite envious up here in Aberdeenshire! I haven’t been able to get out foraging at all so far, though I know that at least the Large Reds have been active locally for the past week or so.

  2. Many thanks for your kind comments Bill. We are certainly lucky in the South, although you do have a few specialities up there which I hope to see one day.

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