Right about now I should be able to spend a few hours at a favourite pond appreciating the delights and wrapped up in a little in-flight photography, but all of my favourite small ponds are either non-existent or nothing more than muddy puddles. Where to go then?
On Monday I fancied something a little different, so Sue & I decided to blag our way around Broadlands Lake again to see what was about. It has been 4 years since we last had a look. Broadlands Lake is a private fishing lake within in the extensive grounds of Broadlands Estate and is a popular spot for course fishing despite being next to the M27 motorway and its associated noise.
Now fishing lakes are never a good spot for dragonflies – too much underwater competition – but close proximity of the New Forest and Testwood meant there should at least be something there to grab your interest. There was, in the form of a dozen or so Migrant Hawkers either holding single territories or time-sharing others.
I was surprised at the lack of Common Darters with only a few seen during our visit.
At least there were a few Blue-tailed Damselflies still holding their own.
Curiosity sated for another 4 years, we took the back way in to Testwood Lakes in the hope of connecting with a Southern Hawker. Sure enough at the gully pond there was a male patrolling, flitting in and out of the reeds and frustratingly choosing the dark, shadowy areas making an in-flighter almost impossible.
There were a few Migrant perched towards the back of the pond, occasionally flying up to intercept the Southern if he flew too close. As I was sat on the boardwalk attempting this, a female came in and landed on the side of my right knee and attempted to oviposit in my trouser material. I watched helplessly as the male saw her and took her up high into the oak to rob me of all opportunities.
We continued along the path towards the bird hides where another 3 Migrant were feeding near the round house and another at the far end before returning to the pond where no less than 3 Southern Hawkers were now time-sharing small territories while the female was ovipositing in the reeds.
I bedded in and did my best to avoid the shadows and attempt to capture one of the males before calling it a day.