In pursuit of the Hairy Dragonfly

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.

Titchfield Haven nature reserve

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.

Broad-bodied Chaser
Four-spotted Chaser

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.

Shy Lapwing
Spiky Coot chicks
Coot and chicks
Black-headed Gull

I saw very few butterflies – only a single Red Admiral and several Brimstones. In the waterside vegetation there were lovely Yellow Irises.

A Lapwing less shy
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3 thoughts on “In pursuit of the Hairy Dragonfly

  1. Thank you both, though I’m not really happy with the pictures. They were taken with a Panasonic FZ8 (superzoom, 36-432mm equivalent), hand held. They haved also been ruthlessly cropped, so the images you see are only a tiny part of a much larger whole that wasn’t really sharp in the first place.

    I’m also curious to know why the images within the post are noticeably inferior to what you see if you click (or double-click) on an image and view it as a larger individual photo.

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