Dragonflies and Damselflies
On a sunny Saturday morning forty members of Haslemere Natural History Society met to seek dragonflies and damselflies on Thursley Common, a National Nature Reserve important for its heath and bogs. The group split into two, one led by Jill Fry, a very knowledgeable naturalist and botanist, the other being taken by her husband Ray, a previous warden of the Common for over 20 years, ably assisted by member Don Tagg who also has extensive knowledge of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata).
Members learnt about the geography of the area, how the bogs are kept filled by springs welling up from the base sand beds, and why the Moat pond is thought to be a hydraulic pingo, a depression left after the last ice age. The name Moat derived from an ancient word meaning a meeting place. There is a boundary stone slowly sinking into the bog beside one of the boardwalks, known at Thorís Stone, marking the meeting of the three different parishes, Elstead, Thursley and Peper Harrow.
Both parties saw a good number of dragonflies and damselflies and their life cycle was explained; charts helped with identification. Dragonflies seen and positively identified were male Emperor (patrolling ponds, chasing off other males and waiting for females so that mating and egg laying could take place), Common Darter, Red-veined Darter, a pair of Black Darter mating and egg laying, Keeled Skimmer, Four-spotted Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer. Damselflies included Emerald, Scarce Emerald, Common Blue, Large Red, Small Red, Large Red-eyed, Blue-tailed and Azure.
There were also opportunities to study butterflies, birds (including a Hobby) and plants adapted to the boggy terrain.
In thanking the leaders, the members all agreed it had been a most instructive and interesting morning.
The event took place on 8th August.