A pleasant Wednesday morning. Hot, humid, calm – pretty much the same as yesterday although with periods of hazy sunshine. The increase in temperature certainly benefited the damsels with Azure, Common Blue and Large Red already making use of Rushbush Pond. On the way in I did my usual flush through the gorse and heather and stirred up a couple of Broad-bodied and several Four-spotted Chasers; the latter preferring to perch low down.
A quick skirt around Furzey Pond, which was rife with Azure, and across the road to Dibden Bottom. I peeled off the road a little earlier and realised I was following a different path to usual. Little errors and getting lost often reveal hidden treasures and I came across another pond which I’ve totally failed to notice before!
In the half-hour since Rushnush, things had woken up considerably with the usual damsel cast , several FSC’s and a couple of male Emperors holding their territories until they’d meet, battle and resume. I spent a good half-hour just watching.
They were too far away to attempt a decent in-flighter.
Back around to the usual shallow ponds where things were repeated in smaller doses, almost subdued compared to the excitement around the corner. And then I spotted the Emerald. At least I’m positive my eyes weren’t deceiving me, but getting close and confirming for sure wasn’t going to happen. I spent another half-hour doing a fingertip search of the area knowing where’s there’s one, there are usually more. Not this time though. Perhaps it was a mirage?
I decided to approach my new found pond from the opposite direction, avoiding the worst of the boggy areas and even finding a faint path. Back at the pond a few Keeled Skimmers decided to join the cast.
Finally my curiosity was rewarded with the unmistakeable sight of a teneral Emerald rising from the margins to be carried out across the heather.
And then a few more.
I knew I hadn’t been hallucinating. Mission accomplished, I returned via Rushbush and decided to take a walk alongside Matley Bog to the young Beaulieu River below. Incredibly disappointing after a productive morning. Just a few Azures and FSC’s using the shallow cattle pond near the railway.
With a few moments to spare before I had to meet Sue, I called in briefly to the gully pond at Testwood Lakes Reserve just in time to find a female Emperor ovipositing.