Pennington & Crockford

Tuesday 9th July

After the screaming hordes of Thursley I needed a little peace & quiet, so decided to add the Small Red-eyed damselfly to my count.

I took a walk around the meadow searching for roosters and mainly encountered butterflies. There was however a male Emperor flying low and feeding along the treeline.

The pond has become choked with bulrush – normally a blessing for dragonfly habitat but when it splits the pond into it leaves little room for activity.

At the pontoons I saw my first SRE; just the one for now, too far out to grab a decent shot. Besides I was still trying to get to grips with the TC, yet to grasp the full benefits.

Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) - male
Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) – male

The invasive weed was ideal for this species, but I could’ve done with a better background. After I’d had my fill with what were now just three males and a brief visit from a female I took another walk around the reserve.

In what was previously a nice little opening to the sure a teneral rose to land briefly. Fabulous colours, and one I hadn’t encountered before

Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) - teneral female
Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) – teneral female

At the far end of the pond a male Emperor – possibly the one I saw earlier – was holding territory and tried to engage with the female which flew in, but she was only there to oviposit.

Another quick look from the pontoon to see if numbers of SRE had increased (they hadn’t) before I moved on to Crockford.

A brief visit found the expected residents, including several Southern Damselflies.

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

At the basin a Golden-ringed was holding territory, peacefully returning to his chosen perch without being harassed by Keeled Skimmers for a change.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) - male
Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) – male

A quick summation of one day then, mainly to engage with the Small Red-eyed and notable for the discovery of a teneral for the first time. These are the moments which keep me interested.

A Golden Summer Day

Saturday 23rd June

Steve & Debbie were visiting so we agreed to meet at Crockford where the target for the day was the fabulous Golden-ringed dragonfly. A few Keeled Skimmers, Southern and Small Red Damselflies along with a scattering of Beautiful Demoiselles populated the brighter sections of the stream.

At the clearing we caught our first sight of our quarry. A male was holding territory and returned often to his favourite perch, a Bog Myrtle sapling rising from the stream.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) - male
Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) – male

Tenerals still rising from the stream confirmed this was still early in the season here. Besides we’ve only had a break in the weather for a couple of days, and experience had taught me we need a few more days to tempt them out of their slumber.

Across on the shallow pond an Emperor was holding court while upstream revealed a few more and some Broad-bodied Chasers. I was somewhat alarmed to notice the feeder stream was exceptionally dry. Even in the height of last season’s heatwave the flow was more substantial than this, and we’ve had a lot of rain recently.

At my favourite spot we found another couple of Golden-ringed. An Emperor flew in and in the ensuing battle the Emperor retreated after getting a good ducking. Never underestimate the Golden-ringed!

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) - male
Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) – male

After his victory he was rewarded by the presence of a female which he grabbed and took off across the heath with. Despite extensive searching of the place we thought they dropped we failed to locate them.

Now the problem with pairings is you lose one of your subjects. This wouldn’t have been a problem if we had found the pair but thankfully we managed to locate another a further upstream who was rather accommodating,

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) - male
Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) – male

When disturbed by our clumsiness, or a bothersome Keeled Skimmer, he flew back & forth along a short section of his territory which allowed a little more skill testing.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) - male
Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) – male

The view in the viewfinder was promising for the next shot, but in my haste I’d failed to notice he’d passed behind some bog myrtle!

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) - male
Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) – male

Just after this fail was captured we had a visit from the local cattle herd, who managed to tear up the stream bed and turn the crystal clear waters into a channel of sludge which no self-respecting dragon or damsel would call home. A temporary, but necessary disturbance, without which we wouldn’t have the Southern Damselfly.

We moved back downstream and had a few more fleeting glimpses before things quietened down. As always an enjoyable day in pleasant company, not least those fabulous Golden-ringed.

Couple of the cows were rather confrontational though…