Now We’re Off…

It can sometimes be an unpleasant feeling at the start of the season when the mind & body wants to get stuck in looking for the season’s first emergers. Social Media is partly to blame for jumping the gun, and the weather forecast at the beginning of the week promised a rest until the weekend.

What a lie that turned out to be! Wall-to-wall sunshine with temperatures to match, light winds and therefore perfect conditions. By Friday I couldn’t wait any longer and had to venture forth and put some colour into my pale cheeks.

I did have a half-hearted excursion to Swanwick last Sunday afternoon, and finding out one had been spotted at Town Common forced me into having a look myself  on Monday,  feeling disheartened and frankly cheated to come home empty-handed.

Well, not entirely. A Smooth Snake encounter took the edge off things.

Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca) - male
Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca) – male

I had a gander (and a Gander) at Broomy Pond on the way back knowing it can be good for first sightings, but only Bee-flies, Crane-flies & midges. At least the larder was full.

A few days of constant conditions will kick it off and Friday had to produce the goods. I started at Broomy this time, and was rewarded with my first teneral rising above the heather some distance from the water. That feeling you get when you spot your first has an effect on the rest of the day and finding a few more settled me further.

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) - teneral male
Large Red Damselfly
(Pyrrhosoma nymphula) – teneral male

There were barely a dozen male & female present but they had to be searched for, except for those that rose from the bank. A lower count than previous years and the lack of any mature adults among the clearing meant that today was the first emergence.

Not many photo opportunities either, except the above and a perfectly-focused female on some heather which would have made for a nice shot had she not hidden her head behind a sprig!

Onto Troublefield just in case any Demoiselles were early, but the Banded found in London on Thursday had the advantage of an urban micro-climate. Plenty of Spring Butterflies though.

Surely Town Common would produce the goods today? Nope! Not one.

I even took a stroll around Blashford Lakes just in case any Common Blue were around, although secretly I was hoping for a Vagrant. Back to Broomy then to see if any more had arisen, but just the one seen – all the others flown off or hidden away. Thankfully this one was on heather.

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) - teneral male
Large Red Damselfly
(Pyrrhosoma nymphula) – teneral male

So there we have it. I’m finally up & running. Hopefully it won’t be too long before there’s some variety.