One By One

Wednesday 24th May

A friend of mine had Keeled Skimmer and Scarce Blue-tailed a couple of weeks ago in Cornwall, another friend had Keeled Skimmer at Cadnam Common Monday and SBT were seen in numbers on Winfrith Heath in earlier in the week.

Sounds like a plan? I’d already decided to visit Latchmore if the conditions were right this week, and Wednesday looked promising for the morning so with early sunshine, high temperatures and little wind I arrived shortly after 9.30am eager to dig in to see what I could find.

Nothing on the walk in and just as uninspiring at the key area until I caught a glimpse of a teneral, taking a couple of quick shots with the long lens before my only damsel so far caught the breeze and disappeared from view before I could change to macro.

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly(Ischnura pumilio) - immature male
Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilio) – immature male

Not the best opportunity and a tad frustrating to see the joy disappear with no further sightings despite a fingertip search which was worthy of the authorities. Nothing. Zilch. Ouch! Still, a teneral male Scarce Blue-tailed is not to be sniffed at, despite the hay fever.

I took a walk along the parallel flush and uphill following the stream to Gypsy Hollies, surprisingly dry and navigable despite the recent rain. I did however catch sight of a hoped-for Keeled Skimmer among the mire.

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) - teneral female
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) – teneral male

Shortly after I noticed a teneral rise from the mire with a distinct blue tint which, at this location, had to be a Southern Damselfly. What a result! And what a chase, straight into the boggier sections of the mire. Just the one, and the best I could manage before he decided to rise uphill way out of sight and reach.

 Southern Damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale) - teneral male
Southern Damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale) – teneral male

Despite my renewed faith the only other sighting I had in the area were a pair of Large Red, and even they disappeared. Never mind, there were plenty more along the main stream along with several Azure, also making use of the temporary pool replenished by the recent rain.

Other than that a lone male Broad-bodied Chaser held court over the boggy pool to the north of the stream and a smattering of Beautiful Demoiselles along the main flow were the only other Odonata present during my four hour foray.

I decided to pop over to Troublefield, bumping into Paul Winter in my favourite meadow. There were the usual Scarce Chasers and both Demoiselles present and a female Broad-bodied who naturally gave me some exercise.

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) - immature female
Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) – immature female

After disappearing into the other meadow for a while Paul returned and mentioned he’d just spotted an immature female White-legged damselfly near the gate. Having exhausted both myself and all other options she rounded the day off nicely.

White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes) - immature female
White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes) – immature female

Four new species in one day? That’s a good day in anyone’s books.