Sunday, 21 July 2013

Thursley Common Part 1

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.

Emperor Dragonfly

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! 


  1. Marc ,
    Glad you enjoyed your visit and got your lifers in non-ideal conditions .
    If you think the reserve is superb today , you would have loved it 25-30 years ago .
    Black-faced Darter , Common Hawker and Brilliant Emerald along with all the commoner species filled the air , Dartford Warbler and Hobby were seen in good numbers . That little stream you searched for GRD was full of Beautiful Demoiselle as well , and Raft Spider could be found with ease . I know everything seems better looking back , but that site was the No.1 in the country , unfortunately , it's very different now . Re your 'sunny and not windy' recommendation , in those conditions it can be like being in the middle of the Sahara , especially if down the far end of the boardwalk , without any water to drink .

  2. Really great Dragonlies and the lifers, well done Marc.

  3. Some lovely shots Marc, I endorse your view,it is certainly a good place for Dragons, birdlife is also good with Redstart ,Woodlark and GG Shrike being regulars. Good luck if you find time for the Sissinghurst trip.

  4. It's peak time for dragons and Damsels now marc, great that it coincides with some decent weather for once. Good to see you picking up a few more new ones :-)

  5. Great shots :)

    I saw my first Dartford Warblers at Thursley, in 1995 I think, but cold winters + the fire seem to have wiped them out, hopefully they will recolonise someday. And have heard that it used to have White-faced Darters - now I think the most southerly site for that sp. is somewhere in Staffordshire. It is still an amazing place even if not as glorious as it used to be.