With the weather forecast looking good for out trip today to Thursley Common I drove over to Derek Smith's house this morning at 7am where soon after we picked Patrick up and made the journey into Surrey. The further west we drove the clouds started to break up and a few hours later we arrived in the car park where the sun was shining, but not for to long! After getting ready we made our way to the moat and were soon watching lots of Four spotted Chasers which were very abundant today everywhere. Also noted here were my first lifer for the day in the form of a Downy Emerald which despite seeing quite well through the binoculars, never settled for photos. We made our way to a sunny corner and I soon found my second lifer of the day when I found some Small Red Damselflies which gave me the opportunity to get the camera into some action.
Small Red Damselfly
Whilst photographing the Damselflies I noticed a small Darter which after getting into a position to see could be identified as my third lifer of the day, a Black Darter. Common Blue and Blue tailed Damselflies could be seen and a few Emperors passed over the water whilst Four spotted Chasers were everywhere, it was Dragonfly heaven.
At this point just as we were enjoying ourselves the clouds rolled in and for the next few hours made the day quite a challenge. We spent the next few hours walking around the various paths and boardwalks looking for Golden ringed Dragonfly, a species I would love to see but despite looking in areas they had been seen a few days earlier nothing was seen. It was looking like the weather was going to ruin the day when mid afternoon the clouds parted and the sun broke through in style making for hundreds of dragonflies and damselflies to be seen. Keeled Skimmers were everywhere as were Four spotted Chasers, Black Darters performed well for the camera including some stunning males and Emperor dragonflies worked the small pools.
Male Black Darter
As the heat picked up Large Red Damselflies and Small Red Damselflies seemed to be in good numbers and a couple of Hobby must have thought it was Christmas as they hunted the pools. A distant Red Kite was picked out by Derek but despite yet more visits to the Golden ringed site we could not turn up the goods. Silver Studded Blue butterflies were around in reasonable numbers and provided yet more photos and a visit back to the moat added 1 Brown Hawker and more views of the Downy Emerald.
Silver Studded Blue
A fantastic trip with 3 new lifers but hopefully the Golden ringed Dragonfly maybe seen in the next few weeks nearer to home at Sissinghurst if I get the time to visit. With hundreds of photos taken today I will add some throughout the week of the trip and thoroughly recommend a visit to this superb reserve, just make sure you check the weather is going to be sunny and not windy!