Troublefield Awakens

Thursday 18th May

We’ve had some rain at last! Shame it had to coincide with a visit from Dave Clay, a mate down from Derby whom I first met at Chartley Moss some years ago. He was staying near Ringwood and Thursday was the first suitable day this week.

At Troublefield the impact of those showers was immediately noticeable with healthy growth and soggy patches underfoot. First to show were a couple of Beautiful Demoiselles swiftly followed by a selection of Spring Butterflies, including several Brown Argus, Small Copper and Common Blue.

At the riverside Banded Demoiselles joined the cast and most welcome was this season’s fresh batch of Scarce Chasers, resplendent in their vibrancy. All looking their best when the sun peeked through, and just as agreeable under light cloud.

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) - male
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) – male

Although the Cuckoo Flower was fading the emergence of new growth filled the meadow with suitable feeder insects, enough to attract a Broad-bodied Chaser finally close enough for an opportunity.

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) - female
Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) – female

Having a friend around who is more of a generalist is satisfyingly educational, allowing a greater appreciation of other flora & fauna present in this fabulous water meadow. The only downside is the occasional lack of focus by yours truly in an effort to remain sociable.

We decided to check the south meadows where Large Red and Azure were present in greater numbers;  preferring to stay near to the ditch which resembles more of a pool towards the far end. A pair of Azure refused to offer a satisfying stance other than a character shot – a trend which has resurfaced recently.

Azure Damselflies ((Coenagrion puella) - pair in tandem
Azure Damselflies ((Coenagrion puella) – pair in tandem

Except for a couple of pockets these southern meadows are better for Butterflies than Odonata this early in the season so I decided to introduce Dave to Sopley Common and Ramsdown. By now the clouds were dominating and there was a noticeable chill approaching. At least there were a few chasers holed up in the heath which made for a nice change of background.

Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva) - immature male
Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva) – immature male

We didn’t see much after that, however it was past 3.00pm and the view from the hill didn’t promise any more sun heading our way. Still a satisfying few hours in pleasant company and nature provided.