Now here’s something that doesn’t happen very often in the UK: all three days of a Bank Holiday weekend being sunny. At least the London Breeding Club will have had about the best introduction possible to life in a motorhome. Pity, really, it might encourage them into a repeat performance. 😯
We wrapped up against the still chill air and boarded our bikes bound for Barton-on-sea. Here there is a cliff that attracts paragliders whose aerial manoeuvrings can provide entertainment as one sits enjoying a treat from the local ice cream parlour. Other than this, though, Barton-on-sea must be dullest seafront ever – it’s certainly the dullest in muy experience. Below the cliff beloved of the paragliders is a beach of sorts but not only is it undeveloped, it appears uncared for and unloved, looking more like waste ground than a south coast seafront. Curious.
I decided to use the sunny afternoon to visit Ramsdown Plantation near Hurn, technically just outside the New Forest itself. It’s a good place to see the delightful Black Darter (Sympetrum danae) later in the season but I wondered what we might find there at the start of the season. I phoned Paul to see if he fancied it but he was already out ats another site in search of Hairy Hawkers (Brachytron pratense). He also thought Ramsdown, being quite open, needed a calmer day with less wind.
Paul, of course, was quite right. Nothing was moving on teh very open heath area, except the grasses bending in the stiff breeze. We made our way up to the main pond and found access quite difficult, the pond being larger than normal as a result of all the recent wet weather. Fighting our way around the margins, we did disturb a handful of Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) and hawk-eyed Francine also spotted one very teneral Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum).
We’d just decided to call it a day and begun retracing our steps when a dragonfly passed over Francine’s head and settled near the ground. It was a teneral Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata).
Our new friend starting moving on its perch and moved such that it had pushed its head through a gap between two crossed sticks, leaving its outstretched wings caught behind those same two sticks. Not a great place from which to take flight in an emergency, as was evidenced by the fact that it let me pick it up carefully to free it. I placed it on a clearer, more sheltered perch from which it eventually flew. Bon chance, mon ami!
With a more noticeable sigh of relief, we returned to our campsite to find Guillaume free of two thirds of the London Breeding Club, with the remaining third apparently making preparations for departure. Phew!