Sunday, 9 August 2015

A Trip to Thursley Common

I made the annual pilgrimage yesterday to Thurlsey Common in Surrey which is regarded as one of the best sites to see a good number of dragonflies and damselflies in this country. This time I was joined by Warren Baker who had not been to the site before and wanted to see some of the specialties that the site hosted. I picked Warren up at 8am and just after 9am we arrived in the car park at Thursley. Although a few clouds were evident, the day was mostly sunny and hot with little wind, perfect for our session. We were soon walking to the moat where after a check of the grasses, we managed to see the first of our 16 species, Small Red Damselfly followed soon by Common Darter, Common Blue and Blue tailed Damselfly, Red eyed Damselfly and Emerald Damselfly. We stayed here for a bit getting a number of photos of the Small Red Damselflies which I shall post in due course before moving off towards the boardwalk. We spent the next few hours on the boardwalks walking around viewing lots of Black Darters which were new for Warren and provided some good photo opportunities. I just love watching these tiny darters which with careful approach, will show nicely. The hardest thing is trying to photograph them off the boardwalk. As you can see, I ended up with some very pleasing efforts of this species.



Black Darter (male)

Keeled Skimmers were everywhere and a few Emperor Dragonflies patrolled the pools whilst walking back to the moat provided good views of a few Brown Hawkers and a late Downy Emerald provided nice views on the moat. It was nice to see our first Grayling butterfly here which provided yet more photo opportunities, the shutter button finger got a good working out there! After a snack back at the car we walked back out to the boardwalk where we wanted to see if we could locate to of the specialties Thurlsey hosts, the Common Hawker and Golden ringed Dragonfly. Although 'Common' by name, we do not get the Common Hawker in Kent at all and this site is the nearest we have to offer so it was worth putting some time in to find them. We waited by a number of pools for some time until eventually we had the first of 4 sightings of probably 2 male Common Hawker. They were soon chased off by the Emperor Dragonflies but later on at another pool we struck gold, literally when I found a Golden ringed Dragonfly which showed briefly before flying off. More was to come when in the same stream, a male Common Hawker flew up and down a few times where I was able to continue my bad photos of this species here and grab an out of focus flight shot. This were the first males of this species I have seen so although the photo was pretty bad, it does at least show some of the features. If I can pluck up the courage to post such a bad shot, I will post next time!

Black Darter (male) 


Black Darter (female) 

 With the day moving on and adding Southern Hawker and a Beautiful Demoiselle back at the moat, we made our way back to the car. As usual here, it was a brilliant session with some good species seen and some nice photos obtained. I will post some more in the next few days. Many thanks to Warren for his good company which made the day a memorable one.

Black Darter (female)  


Black Darter (male) 

12 comments:

  1. Good write up Marc,
    A few more days like that would be very welcome! Those Black darters can be very obliging, you got some images of the female which I failed to do! Surely you're not going to put that Common Hawker image up! LoL

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    1. Thanks Warren. Pleased how they turned out. As for the CH image, its probably best it stays in the 'record shot' files.

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  2. Beautiful images Marc. I have met one, but not to photograph like that, thanks.

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    1. Thanks Bob. I could spend hours photographing these.

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  3. What a find. Never saw one like this. The photos are beautyful as ever.
    Regards,
    Roos

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    1. Thanks Roos. They are little stunners to watch but getting the right light to photograph them can be tricky. Very pleased with the results.

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  4. Good post Marc. Glad to hear that there is still a lot of dragonflies at Thursley; those at Esher Common seemed to have gone missing in the month I have been in Australia. Fortunately there were a few Black Darters at Esher when I was there on Saturday, but none at lunch time today! How busy was Thursley? I try and avoid weekends if I can there, just too many dog walkers, families, cyclists etc etc.

    Stephen

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    1. Thanks Stephen. It was pretty busy but there were plenty of areas where you didn't see anyone. I think most people stay not too far from the car park.

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  5. Great read Marc. Spotted most of those myself this year at Thursley except Common Darter and Golden Ringed. Also saw a Southern Hawker hanging onto a bush last week.

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    1. Many thanks Paul. I could spend a few days here at least looking around this superb site.

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