After a somewhat disappointing morning , we headed for Thursley Common , once the 'Mecca' of Odonata . The first noticeable thing was the wind , blowing strongly across this open site and the second , how dry the whole place was , with many of the ditches and pools completely dried up , and may more just damp mud . We didn't bother with Moat Pond , usually good for Emerald Dragonflies , but , with picnic groups , sticks being thrown in for dogs , and children throwing things in , even on our return to the car , a boat had been launched onto it , we headed for the boardwalks . A scratchy warbling song greeted us , but the singer was never seen , staying well down in the vegetation . The most numerous species recorded was the Keeled Skimmer . The blue male could be confused with the Black-tailed Skimmer , but no black tail or yellow markings on the sides of the abdomen , or even the Scarce Chaser , but again no black tail and no dark marking at the base of the wings either . Along the boardwalk , small yellow darters were being blown about by the wind , many having recently emerged . These were female Black Darters , a species that is found in acidic , heathland pools . Probably the second most numerous species was the Four -spotted Chaser , a species with a long flight period , and males with wing damage to prove it , but showing the dull signs of maturity . No sign of Raft Spiders which we were hoping to find , but alongside a small bridge , this Longhorn Beetle got blown onto some vegetation in front of us . I thought at first it was the species that seems to be in every Bramble bush at the moment , Strangalia maculata , but the markings were wrong and it was larger . I believe it to be it's cousin , Strangalia quadrifasciata . An example of the conditions was this pair of Small Red Damselflies , trying to oviposit in one of the wet mud areas , whilst being blown around . At the site of the only heard running water , we found Emperor Dragonfly patrolling the adjacent pool and a pair of Keeled Skimmers in the 'wheel' . Right over the far side , we looked for Demoiselles and Golden Ring Dragonfly , but with only a trickle of water in the small stream , neither were present . What were present nearby on one of the broad paths/ firebreaks , were several Silver-studded Blues , this one a male nectaring on Cross-leaved Heath-Erica tetralix , one of it's food plants . A single female was also recorded . As the sun started to drop , it caught the wings of this male Black Darter , and I couldn't resist the shot . Other species recorded included Emerald , Large Red and Common Blue Damselfly .
About the same time we had the SSBlues , we found a colourful moth , that I must admit gave us the run-around for some time , before submitting to a photograph , of sorts . This was the best I could manage , and think it is a Clouded Buff , male ? The top wing was this orange/rust , with dark spots/marks . The bird was still singing on our way back to the car park , this time well concealed in a Scots Pine . I stood for some time trying to get a view , but never managed . Dartford Warbler was going through my mind on site , and played the tape when I got home . I am reasonably sure it was , but would have liked to have got aa view to be sure . What I was sure of , was that we did not see a single Hobby during the visit , which says to me that the Dragonfly numbers are well down on the site , and they were feeding elsewhere .
When we got back to the car , the thermometer was showing 28C , and that rose to 29C on the way back .
3 hours ago