Scouting Ride

For those of us who might be seasonal Odonata freaks and who just happened to be planning a trip to The New Forest, Francine stumbled across a useful little Web site descriptively entitled New Forest Dragonflies. This Web site is very elegantly designed and, unlike “The New Forest”, it does exactly what it says on the can: it presents a whole host of useful information about dragonflies and damselflies in The New Forest. There is even a Google Map showing locations where named species have been spotted.What a great idea!

The down side was that there are so many dragonfly locations shown on the map that it’s difficult knowing where to start. So, prior to travelling, I contacted Mr. New Forest Dragonflies asking for a few location suggestions for new visitors. Helpful chap that he is, he obliged with three suggested locations. Wanting a little technological help, and to give it something useful to do, I downloaded the locations as waypoints into my Garmin eTrex GPS thingy.

After serious amounts of evening and overnight rain, today’s forecast was for sunshine and showers. Nonetheless we set out à bicyclette, our excuse being to scout out a couple of the dragonfly hot-spots just in case the sun graced us with an appearance. Let’s face it, the season it well advanced; September is pretty much the last chance for Odonata enthusiasts and seeing them needs better weather than we are currently getting but … you never know.

IMG_7392_Flower_hunt The land looks quite flat in The New Forest. As usual, once on a bike you realize that it isn’t actually as flat as it might look when driving a car. Nonetheless we pedalled our way around a 20 mile circuit, found the two of our new friend’s suggested locations that were on our route and, rather remarkably, stayed dry. Our remaining dry was entirely a stroke of luck. At one point, we were clearly cycling along a road freshly saturated by one of the advertised heavy showers. I could see said heavy shower, still heavily showering, receding into the distance. Although we didn’t see any friendly Odonata at either suggested location, I did spot a few late season hangers-on flitting about en route. The  flower hunters amongst us had more luck; my dragonflies may not have been venturing out but Francine’s plants remained firmly rooted in place, to her delight.

In common with Francine and I, dragonflies prefer dry, sunny, warm weather. There are supposedly Golden-ringed Dragonflies in the area and I’ve never seen one. My fingers are firmly crossed.

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