Share a sighting
If you have seen a dragonfly and want to share your sighting or get help with species identification you can post in the following Facebook group, which is run by Neil Phillips, one of our County Dragonfly Recorders: British Dragonflies and Damselflies Facebook Group
Be assured that your request to join will be accepted promptly as the group is monitored regularly. It is run by experienced dragonfly enthusiasts, so it is a good place to request species identification help too.
There is also a Facebook group that covers our Migrant Dragonflies Project, which is run by project coordinator Adrian Parr and anyone can request to join here.
Enter a record
If you are confident of your identification please also enter it into the BDS database on iRecord. Your records will help us track the distribution of dragonflies across the UK.
Changes to Latest Sightings, March 2021
Our Latest Sightings feature was set up long before social media existed and was designed to be a space where anyone could tell other dragonfly enthusiasts what they had seen. It was not verified or linked to submitting scientific records at all and resulted in some unusual and unlikely sightings being displayed on our website. The design of the feature did not allow for photos to be displayed or for our British Dragonfly Society team to respond to any questions or requests for identification help. It was not as interactive as the various social media platforms on offer today which many of us have now become accustomed to using.
We feel that it is now time to address these issues and to trial a new approach, so that this part of our website would still be useful and meet the needs of users. This dragonfly season we will be uploading a monthly summary of what species have been seen across the country, along with photos where possible. The summary will be displayed on this page and a short version on the homepage. To share your dragonfly sightings, please head to our British Dragonfly Society social media pages and groups as detailed below; be assured that the groups we recommend are monitored regularly by our own volunteers to ensure a speedy response.
Please give this new approach a go and let us know if you have any constructive feedback to help us shape this feature in the long term. Many thanks from our whole team.
Title image: Hairy Dragonfly by Dave Smallshire
Latest Sightings 2021
We found two sightings online during February:
24th February: Vagrant Emperor, Torpoint, Cornwall. Leon Truscott and photographed by Jojo Alexandra Surman.
27th February: Blue-tailed Damselfly, Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire. Jack Perks. This was a very early sighting from a garden pond.
The first sighting of the month came in on the 29th from Cheshire of a Common Blue Damselfly (photo by Jen Stone), this was surprisingly early for this species in this location. The next day two sightings of Large Red Damselfly came in from Cornwall and Dorset.
The Large Red Damselfly emergence began to spread across the south of England during the first half of April, with one report from North Wales during this period too. The Large Red Damselfly emergence was also underway in Ireland too with a report on the 12th from Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry. The higher temperatures on the weekend of the 17th-18th resulted in a wave of sightings of this species across England as far north as North Lincolnshire and in a few locations in Wales too.
There was a flurry of sightings of Large Red Damselfly during the middle of April too when the temperature rose, with the first sighting in Scotland on the 24th of April from Dumfries (photo right by Laura Bax). The bad weather and lower temperatures at the beginning of May caused a reduction in reports.
The dragonfly season began with the first Broad-bodied Chaser sighting which came in on Twitter from Kent on the 17th (photo below by Marc Heath), followed by a sighting of one in Devon on the 18th. The damselfly season continued with a Banded Demoiselle being spotted in London on the 19th.
Catherine Beazley tagged us into a Twitter post about a Golden-ringed Dragonfly that she spotted in Penzance, Cornwall on the 22nd of April (pictured right). We have never had a record for this species in April before so this was certainly early.
Other April highlights were: the first Downy Emerald was spotted at Lightwater in Surrey on the 18th of April. On the 19th the first Banded Demoiselle was spotted in London. The first Four-spotted Chaser was seen at Whixall Moss, Shropshire/Wales border area, on the 22nd of April. On the 23rd of April came the first Hairy Dragonfly sighting from the Avalon Marshes in Somerset. The first Azure Damselfly was spotted at Hedge End, Southampton on the 25th of April. Also on the 25th was the first White-faced Darter sighting from Whixall Moss.
Below is the sightings list from the old system which runs to Jan 2021. Please see above for more recent sightings in the Facebook group.
- Cheshire and Wirral
- Metallic blue Damselfly?
Skimming a small stream surrounded by woodland. Bright turquoise body with blackish wings. It was a cold frosty morning and the canal and lake were frozen but not the stream. Saw it twice and noticed it because of the vivid colour. [This is a very surprising sighting. From your description this sounds like a male Demoiselle either Beautiful or Banded). Their flight season is usually from April to October. To see this insect at this time of year is unprecedented! – GHM, BDS]
- Lateish Common Darter
The warden, Simon King, saw a female Common Darter by the pond at Testwood Lakes Centre on 28.11.20. Still two weeks to go to tie the VC11 record!
- Late Hawker?
After a sharp overnight frost a Migrant Hawker flying at 11.00 in bright sunshine
- New Forest dragonflies
A Southern Hawker was hunting in Dame’s Slough Inclosure (west of Lyndhurst) and a male Common Darter sunning itself to to the north east of Burbush carpark (south of Burley). Fairly late dates.
- Late Common Darters
23 November 2020 at least two male Common Darters on open access land Walberswick. Seen flying and basking in sunshine early afternoon.
- Common darter
Common Darter seen at RSPB Lakenheath on Saturday 21st of November.
- Late Southern Hawker
Male Southern Hawker seen in New Forest, Hampshire near Highland Water Inclosure
- Late common darters
Three common darters in a sheltered spot at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Upton Fen and Marshes nature reserve. They were doing their usual trick of seeking warmth on fencing.
- dragonflies still about
Shapwick NNR at least 2 Common Darters and 2 Migrant Hawkers
- Red-veined Darter Shapwick NNR
Male Red-veined Darter at Decoy Pond Shapwick NNR in sheltered sunny area by hide also present at least 10 Common Darters and 3 Migrant Hawkers
- Female emperor dragonfly
Around my garden pond, dipping its tail in the water and when it rained seeming to shelter in a rock crevice
- Late Show
Nov 13th Hatfield Moor a Southern Hawker
Nov 12th Potteric Carr 2 Migrant Hawkers
good numbers of Common Darters at both sites
- Female Emperor
Female Emperor flying around a pond at Ravensroost Woods in Wiltshire.
- Common Darters and Migrant Hawker Shapwick NNR
At least 20 Common Darters including some mating and a single Migrant Hawker at Shapwick NNR
- Late Dragons
Woops! the report i submitted earlier of 7 Common Darters and 1 Migrant Hawker, left out a sighting of 1 Willow Emerald Damselfly along Wicken Lode whilst canoeing in the area today.
- Sunny november
2 female emperors and a common Carter at my meadow pond, south herefordshire
- Migrant Hawkers Shapwick NNR
At least 2 Migrant Hawkers at Shapwick NNR
- 2 emperors sunning themselves
2 female emperors ovipositing (?) in the sunshine on a log in a garden pond south herefordshire
- Delightful Darters.
I was not expecting to see any dragonflies at this time of the year while taking a walk around Wicken Fen. So i was delighted to see 5 Darters on the wing. 3 settled on a fence and were positively identified as Common Darter males. Only obtained flight views of the other two. 1.pm-3.35.pm.
- Cheshire and Wirral
- Doolittle Dragons
We spent Friday(6/11) and Saturday(7/11)looking for late flying Odonata mainly at Doolittle moss in Delamere forest. On Friday we saw single male and female Southern Hawkers and a total of six Common Darters. On Saturday we had a male Migrant Hawker and 2 Common Darters.
- Vagrant emperor
Found on its back, in mixed broadleaf woodland, held by surface tension to the surface of a wet log. I thought it was dead. I brought it home, glued it by the thorax to a culm of canary grass, and took some photos. I then brought it indoors to take some macro shots, and the animal started, very slowly, to move its legs, and then to flick its wings. I quickly detached the spot of glue (UHU) from the grass, leaving some on the base of the thorax, and put the specimen out in the conservatory to see if it would revive. But, by morning, it was definitly dead. Photo available on request.
- Dragonflies paired up November 2020
Multiple Dragonflies, some in pairs and appear to be mating. Lincoln, a few miles north of Newark at a fishing lake.outside temperature 11.5 degrees.
- Lockdown visitor.
In my garden.
Male vagrant emperor
In my back garden
Live on the Fylde coast near Blackpool
- Oak coloured dragonfly
I believe it to be a Common Darter (but I may be wrong!) – landed on an oak log close to where I was gardening. It blended so well with the bark of the oak! I took a photograph on my phone. Time 2 p.m.
Place: My garden
- November Dragonflies at Westhay SWT reserve
At least 40 Common Darters and 2 Migrant Hawkers at Westhay SWT reserve
- Diminishing Dragons
While walking around Wicken Fen during the early afternoon, i was pleased to see 2 Migrant Hawkers, 1 male and 1 female. Also 2 Common Darters seen. Again 1 male and 1 female. The sun made an all too brief appearance which may have helped, although the female Migrant Hawker and male Common Darter were flying in overcast conditions.
- First time in October!
2 Emperors in garden in Petersfield
- Highland and Islands
- Common Hawker?
On the 18th Fairway Newtonmore Golf Course, Inverness-Shire
- Cornwall with Scilly
- Tamar Valley, Cornwall – A pair of Emperors
Two Emporers were spotted foraging around the edges of a flooded pond within the Tamar Valley woodland estate