Spent some of last weekend visiting my old friend Nic Orchard, and fortunately that happened to coincide with the fact that part of Yardley Chase, owned by the MOD, was open for the only time this year to the public for guided walks.
It has to be said it is a cracking woodland, and the species list is incredible. Having spent the Saturday evening drooling over a report written by a member of the aptly name ‘Wild Bunch’ who have spent decades recording everything on the site, I was eager to be away.
After permission was granted from the site Commandant, armed with a map, I was sent on my way (with a warning to be back before they locked the huge gate) to go and have a look around whilst everyone else enjoyed their guided tours.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great but I did manage plenty of damselflies and despite only managing to get around little more than a quarter of the site in the 2 hours before the rain came, I picked up numerous Hairy Dragonfly, Southern Hawker, Emperor, Four-spotted Chaser and Broad-bodied Chaser without having to search.
Wood Whites were particularly numerous, and the Burnet Companion was the first I’d seen in nearly a decade as I don’t seem to go to sites where they occur.
Monday dawned grey, and got greyer, but dragonflies are sometimes easier to spot in bad conditions, so Nic took me on a tour of some of the sites. First stop was Waddenhoe. A pretty little village on the Nene pathway. The site is rather pleasing on the eye and after a little while kicking we turned up some cracking Banded Demoiselles… but no Scarce Chasers.
As it got greyer, we headed into White-legged Damselfly country on the edge of Kettering. Not the most picturesque of places… A14, railway next to the river, but still we managed plenty of White-legged Damselflies, Banded Demoiselles, Red-eyed Damselfly and Four-spotted Chasers.
Although late in the day, it did get warmer so we headed off back to Waddenhoe in the hope of Scarce Chaser. This one posed in the late-afternoon sun.
Not a bad selection given the weather, and add in plenty of Red Kites, Buzzard, Hobby and numerous other common niceties, it was a rather pleasant weekend. Thank to Nic for the invite, I shall have to return again to see if the sun ever shines in that part of the world!!
Here is the Northamptonshire Dragonflies blog... worth a look, and even more so if anyone is heading that way.