This superb unseasonable weather has meant I’ve barely had time to eat, let alone keep up to date with the internet. All winter I’d been longing for the season to start and now it’s here I’m making the most of it!
After a forgetfully dumb visit to Titchfield Haven on Tuesday 3rd (they’re closed Monday & Tuesday) we returned on Wednesday to check on the Hairy activity. There were plenty around, but none offering the chance of a decent shot.I did however manage a male as it stopped to feed on a Large Red Damsel
A female Broad-bodied Chaser was more obliging
She even allowed me to change position
And just as we were about to leave a Four-spotted Chaser perched for me
On Thursday I paid a short visit to my favourite pond for a little Downy playtime
Titchfield had previously supplied me with decent chances to capture a Hairy but the draw of Somerset was too hard to resist and as both Sue & I had Friday 6th free we made a day of it.
Hairy’s were once again in abundance, this time joined by swarms of Four-spotted Chasers. At one point there were 11 all perched in a small area and would have made a great photo opportunity if I hadn’t been focused on getting a decent single specimen
However Hairy’s were my main focus and this time I managed a female, a couple of males and a couple of breeding pairs
This female could have been better positioned, but to give her her due she had just been bothered by a male and was desperately trying to right herself, so I didn’t push it.
This male gave me the run around, and while I was attempting to reposition myself for a better capture he dropped down into the foliage
This one was slightly better placed though
Another excellent chance for a breeding pair provided almost a carbon copy of the week previous
Damsels were once again in abundance and I allowed myself a couple of shots, first a female Red-eyed
and a most colourful female Blue-tailed
We could have stayed at Westhay all night, but with a two hour journey ahead of us we just had time to witness the marvelous display of hawking Hairy’s as they polished off the rising cloud of midges late afternoon.
Sunday saw us back at Pangbourne on a dull and very windy day with Doug in tow hoping to spot a few Club-tails. We saw two, but at least the journey was worthwhile. This freshly-emerged specimen was showing us more than we needed to see
Who knew they were green? Well I guess you learn something every day!
Afterwards we took a trip cross-country to Thursley Common and were a tad disappointed. The wind was still horrendous and nothing at all was showing along the boardwalks. The main pond at least provided some opportunities with a playful Azure
A male Blue-tailed
and finally a difficultly-perched Downy Emerald
Besides the wind the major disappointment of the day was somehow the quality setting on my camera had accidentally switched to JPEG Basic before we reached Thursley and all shots I took at that location, including the ones above, were saved in this format.
Without getting into the old argument RAW vs JPEG I’ll just say I always prefer to shoot RAW, so from now on I’m making sure that’s added to my list of pre-shoot checks.
On Monday 9th I crossed the county border yet again to visit Ramsdown Forest on the edge of the New Forest for the Scarce Chasers. A little flush & stalk provided the goods
Again the windy conditions meant that they weren’t going far, even if it meant taking resident on my finger
and one just prior to take-off
Afterwards I nipped into Troublefield where along with yet more Scarce Chasers was the most spectacular display of Beautiful Demoiselles
Everywhere you looked there were swarms of them
The only place I’d previously seen such numbers is Durley Mill on the upper reaches of the River Hamble
On Wednesday the 10th I visited Keyhaven mainly for the Wall Brown butterflies but was surprised to see two Hairy Dragonflies hawking the ride along the old highway, along with an Emperor. Meither stopped. I did manage a pair of Blue-tails during my walk along the sea wall though
By yesterday the weather had taken a turn for the worst and after a brief soaking at Higher Hyde Heath in Dorset I braved the clouds to witness a couple of patrolling Downy’s and a few damsels, including this fresh Azure
So a cooling of the weather and some much-needed rain has dampened a lot of the activity this week, but when the sun does shine all hell breaks loose as you will see next time……