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. 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.
If you are not on social media please feel free to email us about your sightings:
*** Please note that all feedback has been taken on board and our team are currently considering options for the future of the ‘Latest Sightings’ feature.***
Title image: Hairy Dragonfly by Dave Smallshire
Latest Sightings 2021
First Dates – What with some very early appearances by Willow Emerald Damselfly and Migrant Hawker, all Britain’s dragonfly species had already been reported on the wing by the start of July. A record of Migrant Hawker from Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire on 2 July (M. Twinn) was, however, perhaps Britain’s first local individual of the year – two earlier June records being atypical, and likely referring to immigrants.
Last Dates – Late sightings of “spring” species include:
Hairy Dragonflies at Dungeness in Kent on 1 July (D. Walker), at Amwell in Hertfordshire on 4 July (J. Boaden) and at Daws Hall in Essex on 15 July (N. Phillips).
Small numbers of White-faced Darter at two sites in East Inverness-shire on 11 July (J. Warnes/R. Watson).
A Scarce Chaser at Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire, on 31 July (H. Venables)
A Club-tailed Dragonfly near Symond’s Yat in Herefordshire on 31 July (V. Matthews)
Other news – A number of unusual sightings were reported, particularly during the warm spell in mid July. As well as numerous reports of Lesser Emperor, the following records are of particular note:
9–24 July – Norfolk Hawkers were reported from Baston Fen in Lincolnshire (A. Turner and others).
15 July – Scarce Emerald Damselflies were seen at Landguard Bird Observatory on the Suffolk coast (W. Brame). This is the first site record, the damselflies appearing alongside an influx of several other more common species.
15 July – a female Southern Migrant Hawker was photographed at Southrey Wood, Lincolnshire (A. Turner). This was the first confirmed record of the year away from what have recently become ‘traditional’ counties.
18 July – a wandering Southern Emerald Damselfly was seen at Denbies Hill in Surrey (L. Saw).
20 July – a male Norfolk Hawker appeared at Wykeham Lakes in North Yorkshire (C. Bradshaw). This is the most northerly record for Britain.
21 July – a Southern Emerald Damselfly was photographed in a garden at St Albans, Hertfordshire (R. Evershed).
30 July – a Black-tailed Skimmer was spotted on St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly (D. Hart). This is only the second-ever record for the Scillies.
30 July – a male Vagrant Emperor was photographed at Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire, on 30 July (T. Collett).
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.
Male vagrant emperor
In my back garden
Live on the Fylde coast near Blackpool
- Lockdown visitor.
In my garden.
- November Dragonflies at Westhay SWT reserve
At least 40 Common Darters and 2 Migrant Hawkers at Westhay SWT reserve
- 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
- 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