Monday, 22 July 2013

A trip to Thursley Common

Saturday 20th July 2013. Warm, dry and some sunshine. I set off to Thursley with Patrick Giles and Marc Heath for company, all three of us hoping for a hot sunny day and plenty of dragonflies to enjoy on our day trip away from Kent. The weather all week had been perfect, but our visit co-incided with an increase in wind and cloud. At least on arrival we had some sun to get us started, and pretty soon at the Moat lake we were all enjoying a variety of dragonflies not seen, or uncommon in Kent, although the most common dragonfly was Four-spotted Chaser, they were everywhere. We each had a target we wanted to see, and mine was Black Darter, the male in particular looking really smart, so I was quite excited when Marc called me over to see a lovely female:
Meanwhile Patrick was attempting to i.d an emerald that we presumed was Downy but just wouldn't fly slow enough for any of us to get a proper look at it, and Marc and me were enjoying the Small Red Damselflies:
The clouds rolled over during the day as we wandered the paths and boardwalks, and it was quite noticable the insect activity dropped off as temperature dropped slightly, so much so that if we had just arrived and not seen the chasers and abundant Keeled Skimmers in the morning sunshine we would have assumed there wasn't much to see. There were a couple of Hobbies hunting across some of the ponds, a distant Red Kite and we found a few Silver-studded Blues. Careful searching round the margins revealed skimmers and many Common Blue, Small, Large Red and Common Emerald Damselflies:
As the day wore on we were rewarded with some broken sunshine and suddenly the whole area came alive with activity again. There were several Emperors and the Four-spot Chasers were full of energy. The three of us split up to have a couple of hours on our own, and I managed to get some brilliant views of the diminutive Black Darters:
We met up again at the Moat where we spent a while nailing the Downy Emerald, achieving reasonable views by the end of really enjoyable day. We added Black-tailed Skimmer and Brown Hawker for the trip list, and I watched a grass snake swim out of the shallows across the lake.

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