Saturday, July 04, 2009

The New Forest...

I've never been to the New Forest before. Thats what I thought, then read that it was a great place for dragonflies and butterflies, so we gave it a go. We have been away the full week, driving down last Friday and coming home yesterday. Its quite a trek from here, about 385 miles or so. The weather was generally hot and dry with temperatures between 23 and 29.5 degrees every day.




Above - Ponies and Donkeys are all over. This crew thought that the road outside the paper shop would be a good stop. They liked the bus shelter too and kind of made it their own...



Above - One of the valley mires typical of the New Forest heathlands, ideal for rare plants and dragons...



Above - The river Lymington...



Above - For all the die hard birders out there, this is a token gesture. The male Dartford Warbler was calling frequently but it was only after I took the shot I saw the young bird below him. The birding was about non existent this week so apart from a half a dozen Dartfords and being woken through the night by a Nightjar in the cottage garden or very nearby, I saw very little. How on earth can I visit the breeding epicentre for Hobbies in the UK and not get a sniff? Too much looking down instead of up I think...



Above - Two very rare plants in the UK. Top, Hampshire Purslane, found only in the New Forest and one or two spots on Essex and bottom, Coral Necklace found only here and in Cornwall.



Above - Sundews were in their millions. Like lawn daisys on the damp heaths...




Above - What a bonus this was. Jane found this female Stag Beetle wandering across our holiday patio. She's a big'un mind....( er, the beetle that is...)




Above - Downy Emerald Dragonfly. One of 4 new species for me this week. Sorry this is my only shot, taken at Hatchet Pond near Beaulieu...



Above - Beautiful Demoiselle top and bottom. Middle is a Beautiful Dem harassing a Banded Demoiselle off his territory...



Above - MEGA. Well if you like this sort of thing. Southern Damselfly is a very rare species, again most easily seen in the New Forest, This pair were at Crockford Bridge.



Above - Small Red Damsels were quite widespread on the heaths. See the red legs and no black on the tail end separating them from the more robust Large Reds.



Above - Commoner species included from the left, clockwise, Broad bodied Chaser, Black tailed Skimmer and Keeled Skimmer. The latter were in their hundreds all over. I also had Golden ringed, Emperor, Common Darter Dragons, Common Blue, Azure, Common Emerald, Large Red, Blue tailed Damsel etc.



Above - Four new butterflies for me too starting with Silver washed Fritillary. Common in larger woods with up to 30 seen in Bently Wood near Salisbury. I also saw Purple Emperor here but no photos I'm afraid, the buggers stayed too high...



Above - White Admirals at Pondhead Inclosure and Bently Wood. I have never seen as many butterflies in one spot as there were in Bently Wood. There were 50+ Large and Small Skippers, uncountable Speckled Woods, Ringlets and Meadow Browns, Marbled Whire, Red Admiral, Comma, plus the three target species mentioned...



Above - Up to 35+ Silver studded Blues near Hatchet Pond...



Above - A few Dark Green Fritillaries in Hawkhill inclosure...I had a couple of Purple Hairstreaks at Crockford too but again too high....



Above - The cottage outside light attracted some moths too. This lot are from the top left, clockwise, , 2 True Lovers Knot, White Spotted, Buff Ermine, Swallow tailed and Common Emerald



And finally sunset over Hatchet Pond.

Please click on the pictures for larger views. Many thanks to Steve Gale and to Alan of 'Hampshire Butterflies' for their advice on sites for taget species. A great trip!

12 comments:

Steve Gale said...

My pleasure Stewart. What a fantastic week you had, both for good species and the weather to see them by. It's made me want to go down there again myself, but unlike your little trek, I can be there in an hour and a half. Get that ink out and start ticking them off in your books!

Warren Baker said...

Did you really want to go home!! Glad you got to see the Demoiselles.

Alan Tilmouth said...

Nice to be home though, wwhich software are you using for your composites?

Gavin Haig said...

Sounds like a great trip, bringing back memories of a childhood visit there with my butterfly-mad uncle. Nice post, nice pics - very enjoyable. Cheers.

John Young said...

Hi Stewart, cracking post. Makes me want to go back home. I left Hampshire before knowing all this stuff occured in the New Forest and I only lived a few miles from it. John

Dean said...

Glad you had a good week, Stewart. And some cracking photos & species to back it up.

Goosey said...

Nice pictures as always, I live not too far from the New Forest but never go there! I live in Dorset near Poole Harbour...did you get to visit the harbour? Plenty of birdlife there...
Last time I did go to the NF, saw an adder really close.
Glad you had a good time.

Kingsdowner said...

Stunning stuff, but it's a shame you only got Dartford warblers and nightjars. Hardly worth the trip.

Great selection of butterflies.

Emma Anderson said...

What a wonderful collection of pictures, Stewart. You certainly had a very good time. The butterflies and dragon/damselflies are outstanding. And the sundew - I've never seen one but hope to one day if I get up to Falstone Moss.

Stewart said...

SG - Cheers again, I'll be on to again sometime no doubt!

WB - Always good to get home from hols. Its quieter here than in the New Forest.

AT - Er, Hang on.... Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0. Crop. Adjust brightness, contrast, and Unsharp Mask then Photomerge. Save for Web. Done.

GH - Ta Gavin.

JY - You need to pop back for a visit....

D - Aye some great inverts there Dean, and more I could get too.

G - Get stuck in there, its worth the visit. I kept away from the birding really because I wanted to take advantage of the insects that we dont get this far north.

KD - Oh well worth the week, for the insects alone.

EA - Good luck with the sundews, I've seen them in Kielder too. They are very tiny though...

St said...

I thought you would like the New Forest.
I was camping a couple of years ago and always paid a late night vist, to leave the toilet block windows open and lights on.
The walls were like a moth poster.

Stewart said...

I like it Steve, good plan...