The Long Wait

September 1st

We all suffer those irritants so I won’t bore you (or myself) with the finer details; the crux of the matter being without transport for ten long and fraught days. Not that it should’ve mattered, as we didn’t really have the weather for it.

Suffice to say it took a while to get back in my stride when I finally did get mobile. I thought a day at Ramsdown should clear the funk, but, as usual after a period of dismal weather, it takes more than one dry day to get back up to speed.

I must’ve disturbed (as opposed to flushed) three or four Brown, a couple of Migrants and a Southern from their resting places within the clearing, and as they didn’t reappear I headed straight for the pond.

A few Common and the Black Darters joining the Emeralds, but at least an early showing of a male Southern patrolling.

Southern Hawker - male in-flight
Southern Hawker – male in-flight

As per normal the sun couldn’t stay around long enough to initiate continued play, but the Black Darters kept me amused.

Black Darter - male
Black Darter – male

I took a stroll over to the other ponds, where at least a male Moorland was contemplating a territory. Preferring to fly over the heather rather than the water, a dastardly tactic which made him difficult enough to pick out with the eyes, let alone a viewfinder.

Doug joined me soon after and we popped into Troublefield where at least a few Migrant were providing some opportunities.

Migrant Hawker - female
Migrant Hawker – female

The meadows are unsurprisingly soggy after the recent rains, the north meadow in particular a mire of diluted cattle excrement; a far cry from the blooming bounty earlier in the season. Still, the hawkers don’t seem to mind.

Migrant Hawker - male
Migrant Hawker – male

September 2nd

This continued meteorological uncertainty doesn’t warrant travelling too far, so I called in at Cadnam Common. The ephemeral pool hidden in the ferns had a few Common Darter and an Emperor patrolling, and the distinctive in & out of the reeds behaviour of a Migrant provided the first hawker on the main pond.

He didn’t last long, being swiftly bullied off by the local Emperor. His pond…or at least this section of it. He followed a haphazard path, occasionally rising up to see off another or get a tad confused by attempting to lock on to a passing female Moorland.

The Emeralds and Darters carried on regardless.

Common Darter - male in-flight
Common Darter – male in-flight

Over on gorse corner a Southern finally appeared for a short while in the last remaining rays of sunlight before the gloom enveloped the valley.

Southern Hawker - male in-flight
Southern Hawker – male in-flight

I found myself cloud-watching. I swear an evil presence was boiling and simmering in a stew of malcontent, slowly and purposely erasing every remaining glimmer of activity.

Under these darkening skies a movement across the water caught my attention as a tandem pair of Common Emerald looked for a suitable ovipositing site. What happened next was something I’ve read about, but not seen. The male supported the female while she retreated under water to lay her eggs in the grass stem.

Common Emerald Damselfies - tandem pair ovipositing.
Common Emerald Damselflies – tandem pair ovipositing.

A fine sight to round off the day.