Monday, 29 June 2009

Southern Heaths

Sunday was very hot and humid, especially where we were on the heaths of the New Forest and Surrey.
Although we had left it a bit late, we first visited Hordle Cliff opposite the Isle of Wight just in case a Glanville Fritillary was still flying. Being a bit dull, not much was flying, apart from a few Browns and Painted Ladies. A small bright orange/brown butterfly was seen twice but not well enough for identification.
Offshore, a few fishing Sandwich Terns, and a small flock of Sand Martin were the only birds of note.
Crockford Bridge in the New Forest proved to be very productive. Southern and Small Red Damselflies, Beautiful Demoiselle and Keeled Skimmer were abundant, and there were lots of Golden Ring Dragonflies too. On the heath, Silver Studded Blues were everywhere and we found two Dark Green Fritillaries. Few birds though, no Woodcock, Dartford Warbler or Woodlark as in previous visits, and there were no orchids either.
Nearby, at Hatchett Pond, despite searching we could not find Scarce Blue Tail damselfly, but plenty of Blue Tails, and Southerns were abundant. Also, Skimmers, Emperors and Chasers along with another Dark Green Fritillary.
A try at Mill Lawn Brook for the Scarce Blue Tail failed, but Keeled Skimmer, Broad Bodied Chaser and Black Tail skimmer were plentiful, along with the smaller blue damselflies.
Finally, a late afternoon visit to Thursley Common was worthwhile. Among the hoards of Common Blue, Azure and Blue Tail Damselflies a single Downy Emerald was flying. On the heath itself, the usual Keeled Skimmers, Emperors and Four Spotted Chasers were on every pool, along with Large Red Damselflies. A single Common Hawker was also seen.

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