More Foul Weather!

This past week has been so miserable with dark clouds, heavy rain and still that constant & annoying wind! At least Saturday 11th promised a few sunny spells, so Sue & I paid an afternoon visit to Titchfield Haven to see what we could find.

Despite the wind there were a few damsels lining the paths – mostly Azures and Blue-tailed. Titchfield has always been a hot spot for Blue-tailed and the abundant foliage provides endless opportunities for photographers. However the main area around the dragonfly pond was nowhere near as good as last year.

Worse still was the state of the pond. Usually a prime spot for Emperors, Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers patrolling the open water along with several Hairy’s weaving in & out of the reeds at the edge. Now the pond has been neglected to the extent that there is now no open water – just a mass of overgrown reeds.

Needless to say there were no patrolling chasers of any description, just a lone Hairy preferring to patrol the surrounding foliage at low level. There was a lone Four-spotted Chaser perched on one of the many reeds

Four-spotted Chaser
Four-spotted Chaser

A small pond close to the bird hide did have another two Four-spotted patrolling a small open area, with more among the surrounding foliage and a lone Emperor appearing from time to time to do battle with the Hairy, who at least took refuge for a photo opportunity

Hairy Dragonfly - Male
Hairy Dragonfly – Male

The only other real opportunity that afternoon was a beautifully perched and very vibrant male Banded Demoiselle

Banded Demoiselle - Male
Banded Demoiselle – Male

Titchfield is primarily a bird reserve but they are missing a golden opportunity to retain it’s appeal as a prime dragonfly spot with much the same habitat as the Somerset Levels. All it needs is better management by cutting back those reeds and tidying up the surrounding scrub.

On the afternoon of Monday 13th Sue & I headed over to Ober Water and were greeted with the aftermath of Sunday’s heavy downpours. The main flow had been split into several parallel channels with large areas flooded making the going tough. The usual crossing points were now a hazard even for wellies, but at least there were a few more pools for damsels, mainly Azure, Large Red, Blue-tails and the odd Scarce Blue-tailed.

Further upstream there were a few White-legged including some in tandem, a few Beautiful Demoiselles and several Large Reds

Large Red Damselflies - Pair in tandem
Large Red Damselflies – Pair in tandem

Surprisingly there were no dragons to be seen, not even a Keeled Skimmer, and the damsels were few and far between. Afterwards we checked on our favourite pond and are pleased to report that the heavy rain has replenished the water levels.

Despite the late hour there were a few Four-spotted rising from the island with an Emperor and a Downy Emerald doing a circuit.

Tuesday 14th looked more promising weather-wise, so I took a trip to Keyhaven and was greeted by my first Common Darter of the year

Common Darter - Teneral
Common Darter – Teneral

Patrolling the pond were several Damsels – mostly Blue-tailed and Large Reds with the occasional Red-eyed and a few Black-tailed Skimmers, Four-spotted Chasers and Emperors. A rather ragged male at least gave a perched opportunity

Emperor Dragonfly - Male
Emperor Dragonfly – Male

I popped in to Crockford Stream on my way back and was greeted with an ovipositing female Golden-ringed.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly - Female
Golden-ringed Dragonfly – Female

A short transect produced little else except a few Southern Damsels and the odd Beautiful Demoiselle. Some good weather should hopefully wake this place up soon.

That’s all I have to report except for a brief visit to Bransbury Common near Andover yesterday morning. After an hour of showers, the sun briefly came out to reveal hundreds of Large Skippers and a lone Banded Demoiselle.