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Pony near Hampton Ridge
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***** Coronavirus update - for the latest information and advice about New Forest access restrictions and related matters, check out the New Forest National Park Authority and Forestry England websites. *****
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check out the New Forest National Park Authority and Forestry England websites. *****

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

Where: In open locations - primarily around heathland pools, slow flowing streams and rivers, drainage channels and boggy places
When: Late April to mid-September
How many: Relatively abundant
A Large Red Damselfly with prey item held firmly in the mouth
A Large Red Damselfly with prey
item held firmly in the mouth

As the first dragonfly or damselfly species to be seen each year, Large Red Damselflies are welcome harbingers of spring. They can often be seen in late April, whilst rapidly dwindling numbers of late flyers are sometimes present until mid or even late September.

The size suggested by their name is, however, relative, for although quite robust creatures, they are comparatively small - wingspan is a modest 4.5 centimetres, or so, whilst length is little more than 3.5 centimetres.

Bronze-black markings towards the end of the abdomen differentiate Large Red Damselflies from superficially similar small red damselfly males, which possess wholly red abdomens. Male and female Large Red Damselflies are similarly marked.

Common and widespread throughout the New Forest and, indeed, throughout much of Britain wherever suitable habitat exists, Large Red Damselflies are gregarious creatures that often tolerate the company of others of the same species at the same, sometimes small, pond.

References:
A Guide to the Dragonflies of Great Britain: Dan Powell
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Britain and Northern Europe: Bob Gibbons
The Dragonflies of Hampshire - John Taverner, Steve Cham, Alan Hold, et al

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** New Forest ponies and other animals**
New Forest ponies in the road
Commoners' ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during 2019 agisters attended 159 road traffic accidents involving these animals, a small but disappointing increase on the 154 accidents attended in 2018.

Sadly, 58 animals were killed - 35 ponies, 13 cows, 8 donkeys and 2 sheep, whilst a further 32 were injured - 3 pigs, 9 donkeys, 11 cows and 9 ponies.

(Forty-three accidents occurred in daylight, 15 at twilight and 101 in the dark. Twenty-seven accidents were not reported by the driver involved).
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley