With summer having temporarily arrived, I made a quick day trip down to the south coast last week with my first destination being the New Forest for a spot of dragonflying.
Crockford Stream was my first port of call, which proved to be a really excellent spot. Walking from the car park at Crockford Bridge down to the stream, the heath was found to be alive with Silver-studded Blues flitting across the heather in the rapidly rising heat.
Nearing the stream Small Red Damselflies started to be encountered, and then shortly after I found my first target of the day, a Southern Damselfly in the bog myrtle bordering the stream, with up to half-a-dozen more found around the small area which I concentrated on during the ensuing couple of hours or so, including a pair in cop.
Walking around more Small Red Dams were found, Keeled Skimmers made the odd fly-past and numerous Beautiful Demoiselles danced away over the stream and perched up in the vegetation.
Then a large dragonfly appeared along the stream. and after a game of cat and mouse trying to get a good look at it, it finally gave itself up to reveal that it was my second hoped-for species a Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Two or three were seen buzzing around the area with the occasional clash in flight between them, but thankfully they also regularly perched up allowing a few pics to be obtained.
I then moved on to the nearby Silver Stream/Ober Water area where yet more Small Red Damselflies were encountered.
A couple more Golden-ringed Dragonflies were seen, and Keeled Skimmers were numerous around the streams and pools and on the heath in general. A couple of Redstarts were seen along the forest edge along with a Spotted Flycatcher, and further along White-legged Damelflies were numerous along Ober Water.
It was then on to Durlston Country Park for a spot of Butterflying and after a bit of searching to find the most productive area I managed to locate my final target of the trip Lulworth Skipper. The females were fairly easy to pick out with their distinctive light crescent in the wing, but the males were pretty indistinct, although they were a noticably dingier colour compared to the brighter orange of our other skippers, and with some, such as the male picured below, also ghosting the wing pattern of the females.
Numerous other butterflies were seen around the park including this fresh Small Blue.
Good numbers of Marbled Whites were also seen, although like most of the other butterflies seen, they rarely landed in the sunny and hot weather, so I just grabbed a quick record shot of one which paused briefly.
This Large White also paused briefly to feed before heading off along the clifftop.
Birdwise a juv Black Redstart was on the cliffs, Shags were on the sea, and Ravens and Peregrines were present too.