After a succession of cloudy days with a cool wind, today dawned warm and sunny. It looked ideal weather for dragonfly hunting. So I set out for a local nature reserve, Titchfield Haven, where the river Meon flows into the Solent.
My main target was the Hairy Dragonfly, one of the earliest larger dragonflies on the wing. The people who run Titchfield Haven have created some areas specially designed to meet the needs of dragonflies, with well vegetated dykes. Almost at once I found my prey, several Hairy Dragonflies on the wing, restlessly patrolling back and forth among the reeds. Unfortunately not one of them came to rest in my sight all day, so I couldn’t get a photograph nor even as good a look as I’d like, but that’s dragonflying.
Other species on the wing were bright blue Azure Damselflies, Four-spotted Chasers and Broad-bodied Chasers. I also saw a Large Red Damselfly and a Banded Demoiselle.
Titchfield Haven has a large area of water with islands on which Black-headed Gulls and a variety of wading birds nest. At this time of year the place is continuously noisy with the calls of the gulls. Other birds in evidence included a solitary Garganey, Shelduck, Shoveler Avocets, Lapwings, Black-tailed Godwits, Coots, Moorhens, and Canada Geese. Newly fledged Coot chicks, as spiky as punks, were a quaint sight as they badgered their mother for food. Elsewhere, the odd Common Tern graced the sky before plunging sharply into the water for a fish.
I saw very few butterflies – only a single Red Admiral and several Brimstones. In the waterside vegetation there were lovely Yellow Irises.