Saturday, 16 June 2018


Green tiger beetle
 It was a bit chilly when I arrived at Old Lodge reserve in the Ashdown Forest on Wednesday 6th June. I made my way across the reserve to the first of the  small, peaty black ponds where I was hoping to see and photograph some dragonflies. I stopped for a while to snap this green tiger beetle which, like me was only too pleased to start feeling the warmth of the suns rays despite the still cool northerly breeze. I like these little beetles, they make a change from the usual black shiny ones we usually see. They fly too, although not usually too far, so you can usually track them down again when, like this one, they're a bit camera shy and keep buzzing off down the track.
I was disappointed to find the first two ponds almost devoid of dragons, just a few large red damselflies were willing to defy the coolness of the morning. 

Male Redstart
I headed off towards the last of the ponds but was distracted by this super male redstart who, together with the female, was busy catching insects to feed their demanding brood. I perched myself on a log at a respectable distance and spent a very pleasant half hour or so watching them and eventually worked out the location of their nest in a nearby tree. I didn't disturb them which is why the picture is a bit of a poor long distance shot.

Common Lizard
By now the temperature had risen nicely and this meant that the dragonflies were more active on the third pond. Four-spotted chasers, broad-bodied chasers, black-tailed skimmers and emperors were all on the wing, busily defending their territories and steadfastly refusing to stop for more than a second or two. The common lizard above though was more than happy to sit still, basking in the warmth of the sheltered undergrowth to the back of the pond.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly
There's a stream at the bottom of the valley in the middle of the reserve and I headed there in the hope of seeing a golden-ringed dragonfly, one of my favourites. I saw a couple there last year and watched one ovipositing into the stream. Unfortunately I didn't find one on this occasion, maybe a little bit early in the season. So here's a picture of one from last year.

Beautiful Demoiselle
The time spent  wasn't wasted though because I found this little beauty sheltering among the reeds that line this very pleasant little stream. It's a male beautiful demoiselle. A stunning cousin of the banded demoiselle and the first one i've seen on this site. What a stunner!

And finally. Just as I was photographing the beautiful demoiselle this wren popped out of the undergrowth and checked me out before flying off into a nearby tangle of low lying scrub. Clearly some very hungry mouths were waiting to be fed.

No comments: