Beautiful Smells and Demoiselles

Since my last post we’ve had a couple of disappointing days; firstly Bentley Wood, where if I’m honest we jumped the gun a little on the butterflies. The (infamous) Eastern Clearing is still looking surprisingly drab with hardly any feeder plants. The birds were surprisingly silent too, but the major disappointment came with the state of the (small) pond.

Desperately neglected last season, I was hoping they’d had a chance to clear the stifling growth, but alas this small and once quite productive little pond now resembles barely more than a muddy puddle. We did however manage to spot a couple of teneral Large Red.

A return to Titchfield was perhaps a little hasty considering there was a low, with a brisk wind bringing some rather dark clouds from the north. The brief patches of sunshine were barely enough to wake the insects from their slumber, although one extended spell did raise them from the safety of ground level. Nowhere near the numbers we experienced on Thursday, but we were rewarded with all but one of that days’ cast – the Hairy being (unsurprisingly) absent.

A day of rest on Easter Sunday (as it should be) with a good pelting of rain to replenish some of the ponds and water the plants. Refreshed and renewed we took a short local walk through one of our favourite valleys on Easter Monday.

Away from the hustle & bustle of the great rush home we were presented with the heady scent of cut grass, Wild Garlic and Bluebells. The water meadow carpeted in Spring flowers provided sustenance for foraging Orange-tips and Large Whites, but it was the fluttering among the nettles which caught my attention as the first of our Beautiful Demoiselles appeared in this rather hot & humid micro-climate.

Beautiful Demoiselle - Immature male
Beautiful Demoiselle – Immature male

We found 16 in total, both male and female and mostly fresh.

Beautiful Demoiselle - Immature female
Beautiful Demoiselle – Immature female

Durley has previously proved an early site for these, but this is 3 weeks earlier than last season. A brief meeting with a local naturalist confirmed she’s never seen them appear before May in several decades.

A perfect choice then for a Bank Holiday stroll.