Sunny Delights

Incredible that it may seem we finally have a belt of prolonged sunshine! This has given nature a perfect opportunity to catch up and has kick-started the emergence of many species with the forums alive with sightings. Emperors have synchronised their emergence across many counties, with Wales and Dorset leading the charge closely followed by a mass emergence at Blashford Lakes yesterday.

After a tip-off I called into Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve for the first time in two years hoping to at least see a wealth of Blue-tailed in all their colour forms, but numbers were surprisingly low. Same with the Banded Demoiselles. Very few indeed considering the numbers witnessed at Itchen Valley a few days ago.

I was here for Scarce Chasers though, and this involved an uncomfortable search through waist-high nettles bordering the banks of the Blackwater River. After being stung through my trousers I reached the far end and found two immature males, who proceeded to lead me a merry chase. I didn’t see any females but then I know that they tend to scatter a reasonable distance from their birth river.

Scarce Chaser - Immature male
Scarce Chaser – Immature male

Mission accomplished, I continued on to the pond intent on improving my in-flight technique with those pesky Downys, although there was only the one male today. His visits were sporadic, as was most activity due to large amounts of annoying cloud.

When the sun did break through I was rewarded once again with a fantastic air show with at least half-a-dozen dragons vying for space within a few square metres around the Lilies. The cast of Chasers, Emeralds and a selection of Damselflies appearing to revel in a chance to use their wings joyfully in the pursuit of mates with surprisingly very little aggression.

A welcome addition to the cast were a pair of Red-eyed Damselflies, the first I had seen at the pond this season and the first since the male teneral at Swanwick a week ago.

Large Red-eyed Damselflies - Pair in tandem
Large Red-eyed Damselflies – Pair in tandem

Also making use of the Lily Pads were several Azures and Large Reds

Large Red Damselflies - Pair in tandem
Large Red Damselflies – Pair in tandem

Content to sit and watch as the afternoon went on, I couldn’t resist having another go at the Downy

Downy Emerald - male
Downy Emerald – male