New Forest Whistle Stop

Ipley Cross

If anything Friday was the better of the two days weather-wise. Plenty of sun but still that tedious wind – albeit from the opposite direction. Certainly enough to blow the cobwebs off the heather at Ipley Cross.

Suffice to say I saw no hoped-for Emerald Damselflies fluttering on the breeze. It’s possible they were around, but after the uneven ground of yesterday I didn’t persist. As it was there were a few teneral Four-spotted Chasers and an Emperor at each pool.

Four-spotted Chaser - teneral male
Four-spotted Chaser – teneral male

A brief call in at Crockford offered probably my best experience of the day with enough Beautiful Demoiselles, Keeled Skimmers, Broad-bodied and Four-spotted Chasers and the odd Black-tailed Skimmer to keep me occupied.

The highest populations were Southern Damselflies, my first chance to catch up with the species this season.

Southern Damsefly - male
Southern Damsefly – male
Southern Damselfly - female
Southern Damselfly – female
Southern Damselflies - pair in tandem
Southern Damselflies – pair in tandem

Besides the Southerns there were a few Blue-tailed and Large Red.

Large Red Damselfly - male
Large Red Damselfly – male

Curiously I find the Large Reds at Crockford a more vibrant red than usually encountered, unless yesterday’s North Hampshire encounters were stuck in my memory; a more drab, matt appearance.

I couldn’t leave without taking advantage of a perfectly-poised Beautiful Demoiselle.

Beautiful Demoiselle - female
Beautiful Demoiselle – female


At Pennington the undergrowth had reached 6 feet high in places; Certainly in need of a trim. The thickness of growth hindered rather than helped, most odonata in my experience preferring to perch along the margins or in small open clearings, certainly with the ability to bask and keep an eye out for predators.

At least there was a little over-water action with a couple of male Emperors and a strong showing of Azure, mostly in tandem. Again a few scattered Large Red, Blue-tailed and Red-eyed, some Beautiful Demoiselles and – yes, you’ve guessed it – Four-spotted Chasers.

Surprisingly no sign of any Black-tailed Skimmers.

Disappointed by the lack of terrestrial numbers I watched a male Emperor is it gracefully flew in loops, occasionally seeing off a rival male or retreating from the aggressive attention of the Four-spot which was holding territory.

Emperor - male
Emperor – male

I rounded off the afternoon with a quick call into Troublefield to discover there were a few cattle-sized flattened sections, although no sign of any cattle. I can only assume someone had tripped and fallen several times, or broke off for a lie down. Unless of course they were Reed Surfing?

Not a lot today besides the Demoiselles. I did expect to see a Scarce Chaser or two but I presume they were off enjoying the sunshine over water somewhere. Otherwise a fruitful and varied day while I wait for the wind to die down. I need a river walk…