Sunday At The Pond

Sunday 18th June

After our tiring experience during Saturday’s heat at Latchmore we needed an afternoon without too much exhaustive foraging, and what better than choosing a single pond.

The usual tourist convoy was heading to the fleshpots of Bournemouth for over-priced ice cream and basking, pale & fat urbanites littering the beach. Thankfully we were able to peel off the M27 just before it ground to a halt and headed inland once more to Bentley Wood.

Once at the pond I did the usual scrub search and at the far end found my first Ruddy Darter of the season amusingly choosing to face me rather than pose sensibly for a shot.

Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) - male
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) – male

Some of the male Common Emeralds had started to attain the blue pruinescence of maturity and were more active around the margins, joining countless Azure but still not many Blue-tailed. Immature examples still outnumbered the mature.

Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa) - immature male
Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa) – immature male

At the opposite end I came across an immature Ruddy Darter, surprisingly satisfied to settle once he’d found a comfortable perch. Certainly the Ruddy here appear to be more accommodating and don’t disappear off at every footfall.

Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) - immature male
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) – immature male

Thankfully a Downy was still present over the pond and was holding his own and winning against the Four-spotted bully boys. Even the male Emperor retreated at this pocket-rocket’s attitude.

Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) - male in-flight
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) – male in-flight

I had another scour around the meadows before returning to my spot; a small bay with a limited viewpoint so I couldn’t see my potential subject coming in. It was also difficult to focus on one individual when shore activity caught my gaze. I couldn’t resist this Azure.

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) - male
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) – male

One way or another I was going to bag that Downy and he finally settled down to run his own territory without shooting off for a scrap. Still a challenge to follow, I waited at my little bay until he appeared to the left, giving me just enough time to grab a shot.

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea) - male in-flight
Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea) – male in-flight

Satisfied at last I rose from my little gnome perch and decided to call it a day. The walk back to the car produced our first Marbled White butterfly of the season while the forest rides were alive with Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Silver-washed Fritillary. We even had a passing of a White Admiral but no Purple Emperor on this visit. Still, there’s always next time!