Not that Franco and Francine are prone to getting stuck in ruts, but we’ve headed for the New Forest yet again. The scariest aspect of this trip is that Satan’s Little Disciples are on the loose from their sanity-preserving schools and the place is bound to be crawling with them. We are hoping, nay praying, that the fact that we have headed for a woodland campsite with no facilities will help reduce their presence and keep use relatively sane. We’re here for a reason, though. Not only do Satan’s Little Disciples hijack most of the British summer, they hijack a goodly portion of the British dragonfly season, too. To see some species, it is necessary to bite the bullet and put up with the little monsters. The bullet, of course, would be better used in shooting one of the Disciples but, regrettably, such behaviour isn’t allowed. Time to grin and bear it.
Travelling on Sunday, as is our practice, at least gave us an easy journey; there was very little traffic considering we are in the main holiday season. Little traffic, that is, heading south. As we entered the New Forest and drove out of Lyndhurst heading for Brockenhurst, the northbound traffic was nose to tail and stationary. In fact, the queue to get through Lyndhurst, designed to be a admirably effective bottle-neck, stretched almost all the way back to Brockenhurst. We sailed past southbound dreading our return journey in a week’s time.
We lucked out. Arriving just after midday, we had about the best choice of pitches that it would be possible to have and, lo and behold, one was free that we had eyed-up on a previous visit. Without hesitation, we swung in and pitched Guillaume in a very pleasant and secluded woodland pitch.
After lunch, for a spot of relaxation we wandered the mile or so down to a woodland glade near to Tiptoe. Here there is a “flush” that drains into a stony woodland stream and the area attracts Odos [Ed: that’s short for Odonata]. Signs were good since, on our route there, we spotted a Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) which didn’t cooperate by resting and a Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) which did pause briefly to devour a forest track snack.
Other than Joe Public on holiday messing about noisily in said stony woodland stream at Tiptoe, the main activity centred around Keeled Skimmers (Orthetrum coerulescens). Their posing wasn’t so hot, though, as they consistently insisted on sitting behind blades of grass. The females, particularly difficult to find as they hid low down in the grass, presented an especially thorny problem. I eventually found one but, once again, she sat behind the obligatory blade of grass. She’s beautiful, nonetheless, and this is the first shot of a female Keeled Skimmer in our catalogue.
There are quite a lot of Satan’s Little Disciples on the campsite and they all seem to be equipped with bicycles: trainee Hell’s Angels, presumably. So far, not too bad, though. Let’s see what our nerves are like after a week of it. 😉