Ober Water

Such is the lateness of the season that I’ve left it until now to take my first full traverse of Ober Water. A warm, humid yet overcast day with very little or no wind to speak of. Makes a change, but some sunshine would have kicked things along a bit. As it was my 9.00am start revealed absolutely nothing along Silver Stream – not even the expected teneral Keeled Skimmers rising from the heather.

I had to wait until I reached the bogs on the other side of the hill before I found any.

Keeled Skimmer - Immature male
Keeled Skimmer – Immature male

After negotiating some precarious sections of Crab Tree Bog I reached the main stream where a few Beautiful Demoiselles fluttered through the bog myrtle on the opposite bank, and a few further upstream. Disappointingly there weren’t any Small Reds occupying the bog myrtle around the boggy margins, and there were no damsels at all flying over the water for the whole stretch down the Markway.

I crossed the A31 to explore the heather to the south in the hope that I may flush out a few sheltering White-legged Damsels, a reliable spot in previous years proving disappointing this time around.

For the return leg I took the upper path back to Puttles Bridge in the hope that I’d find some roosters. About halfway along my first White-legged showed itself, along with half-a-dozen others all taking shelter and feeding a good 200-300 metres from the stream.

White-legged Damselfly - Immature female
White-legged Damselfly – Immature female

A few Large Red and Keeled Skimmers were also joining them for lunch.So four species so far; a paltry count for mid June. Luckily on reaching the boggy pool on the way over the heath the numbers increased a little with the appearance of some Four-spotted Chaser and several Azure joining yet more Large Reds over the water.

Approaching the end of my walk I attempted to pin down a blue male Keeled, but they weren’t having any of it. Reluctant to return to the car just yet, I searched the heather and bog myrtle just the other side of the Rhinefield Road and was delightedd to find a Small Red, my first this year and th eother species I had hoped to find today.

Small Red Damselfly - male
Small Red Damselfly – male

As if to rub it in there were several amongst the ferns in the car park itself, but I had run out of time. So there you go…if a family a day out in the New Forest is best taken within a few metres of the car park, I recommend Puttles Bridge. The wife & kids can stay on the picnic blanket while you delve in amongst the foliage.

I wish I knew sooner. I could’ve had time to take more photos and saved myself a long walk…