A day on the Surrey Heaths
by A warbler a day
The last day of my week off was spent in the heathlands of Surrey, specifically at Thursley Common. This is probably the best place in the country for Dragonflies. After a journey full of traffic hold-ups I arrived in rather grey and overcast weather which was not exactly conducive to dragonfly hunting. Fortunately within the hour the blue sky arrived and the dragons came out. There were plenty of Common and Black Darters, and Keeled Skimmers. I got very good views of a couple of Golden-ringed Dragonflies. It makes a change for me to see them in the habitat mentioned by all the field guides, shallow ditches in heathlands. I more often see them along the chalk rivers of North Hampshire, i.e. the Anton, Itchen and Test. All four species of Hawker were seen, Common Hawker being the most interesting as despite the name it isn’t common, being another heathland specialist. I saw fewer damselflies than usual but those I saw were not the usual suspects. there were several Common Emeralds and I eventually found my first Small Reds of the year flitting through some vegetation at the car park end of the boardwalk. On the bird front – not many species but some were interesting – a group of Redstarts and Stonechats feeding in bushes on the dry heath, a hobby hunting dragonflies.