We decided to stick to the shorter NWT Nature Trail rather than tackle the full public walk around Upton Broad. We saw only two other people, but hundreds of dragonflies. On entering the fen, a cloud of dragonflies materialised; mainly common darters, but with a few larger species like brown and southern hawkers too. All moving with such speed and agility, I couldn't help but call this research study to mind as they prowled the reed bed for other insect prey. A black tailed skimmer briefly joined the fray before we reached the alder carr woodland.
Entering the woodland, there were fewer dragonflies, but there were a couple of particularly inquisitive southern hawkers who repeatedly 'buzzed' us - hovering with precision right in front of us. Such a colourful and beautiful species. Equally colourful and graceful butterflies alighted often to sun themselves on the board walks, flowers and reeds as we explored - small tortoiseshells, green-veined whites, peacocks and gatekeepers.
An emerald damselfly and a few ruddy darters met us as we emerged from the woodland and reentered the fen. I still find it tricky to tell this species apart from the common darter, but these individuals seemed distinctly more red.
I look forward to visiting this reserve again, although perhaps at a cooler time of day to offer better photographic opportunities!