Sunday 19th July
We returned to Swanwick for a couple of hours on Sunday; hoping to grab some more Southern Hawker sightings, but any photo opportunities would be better than nothing.
Despite being warmer, it was a little more subdued than Saturday. Still not much on the dipping pond, but the centre lake had a Common Darter holding court at the goose clearing.
Tom’s Lake had an Emperor and a few Black-tailed Skimmers patrolling the Lily Pads right out in the middle, and the grassy area was still lacking the usual numbers of Blue-tailed, but I couldn’t wait to get to the quadrant, where – true to form – there were a couple of female and a male Emperor hawking the grasses.
Just watching them was worth the trip alone; majestically gliding low along the tops of the grasses, picking off tasty morsels on the wing and perching when they chose the larger portions.
A stroll to the meadows revealed more Emperor rising from the grasses, disturbed by my passing. The dog pond still had those tatty Broad-bodied Chasers, but the quadrant had the best pickings.
Those Emperors were a joy though. Fond as I am to watch their magnificent acrobatics over water, a meadow offers a different view. You can get among them, marvel as they slowly approach you, circle you, race towards their prey with exceptional acceleration, and test your stealth as you seek out their perch.
We didn’t encounter any Southern Hawkers today, but we didn’t really care. We had everything we needed right here.
When your (once) favourite pond is dry, and weather & time doesn’t warrant a long journey, a local meadow can provide all you really need.