Sunday 10th May
On Sunday afternoon Sue & I nipped into Swanwick NR to check on progress. At the dipping pond was a solitary Large Red while in the grass surrounding were a couple of immature Azure.
One of the positive improvements has been the opening up of the stream, providing a perfect little sunny spot next to the footbridge. Although not in large numbers, the scrub threw up some more Large Red, more Azure and a few Blue-tailed. This proved to be the key spot here today.
More Azures and an immature Red-eyed populated the scrub inside the gate, and at the entrance to the fishing lake we saw our first Downy Emerald of the season. Unfortunately too high up in a tree to obtain anything but a lousy record shot, but at least we had a decent view as (she) flew off west over the treeline.
So species number ten this season; for those who are counting 🙂
Monday 12th May
An incredibly frustrating day due to the weather. The forecast promised some sunny spells, so it should have been worth it? Alas an infinite gloom surrounded the south side of the forest, but I decided to carry on with my whistle-stop tour.
I was eager to check on progress at Badminston; the last news being the creation of a nature reserve from the old clay workings. The main lake is now under the ownership of Cadland Fisheries along with the attendant ‘keep out’ signs, but at least for now the plateau remains more or less intact bar the odd landscaping and increasing, in places, prohibitive growth.
A circular tour should have at least thrown up a Common Blue, but not in this gloom.
I don’t know why I chose to call in on Hawkhill. Well, to keep things up to date I suppose. It was just as I imagined. Fruitless. Mind you, so was the eastern corner of Hatchet Pond (the big ‘tourist’ one). The smaller ponds weren’t any better, with not so much as a Large Red showing themselves.
It wasn’t until Pennington that I finally saw signs of life. The fast-growing undergrowth providing a strong cast of immature Azures.
Alarmingly I didn’t see one Blue-tailed., just a few Large Red, a few each of Banded and Beautiful Demoiselles and a couple of Red-eyed.
Fed up with this claustrophobic gloom, I decided to head north to Troublefield. At least here I should find some treasure. I did. Pure gold, as the sun finally made an appearance. Barely over the gate I was greeted by my first Small Copper of the season. A good attendance from Small and Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Peacock, Comma and my first Brown Argus of the season.
Dragonflies were represented by more Beautiful and Banded Demoiselles – still low numbers, but most welcome, and almost an opportunity to get close enough to a Broad-bodied Chaser.
Another week and this micro-climate should really come alive, providing of course they keep the cattle at bay.