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Title image: Hairy Dragonfly by Dave Smallshire
- White-Faced Darter in Shropshire
On Sunday 21st July four of us (3 people from Berkshire plus a lady from Northampton) decided to make the short trip from Preston Montford Field Studies Centre in Shropshire to the nearby Whixall Moss National Nature Reserve. Three were students unwinding after an end-of-term exam on Biological Recording and – although I wasn't doing the course – I tagged along as I'd never been to this site before.
We specifically hoped to see White-Faced Darters (Leucorrhinia dubia). It's a species none of us have seen before and – we thought – would be a suitable reward from a year of courses, assessments and examinations! Having never been to Whixall Moss before none of us knew what to expect and thought that – at best – we'd get a distant, fleeting view of this small dragonfly. There was no sign after an hour or so, although we had good numbers of Azures, Common Emerald Damsels and teneral Black Darters (which seemed to be everywhere in the warm, muggy conditions) along with a few Emperors, Southern Hawker, Four-Spotted Chaser, Black-Tailed Skimmer and Brown Hawker, together with Gatekeeper and Large Heath butterflies and thousands of grasshjoppers and crickets.
I left the others to explore a little side path to look for Fen Raft Spider in one of the moss bog pools, and was astonished to find a male WFD basking quite happily on the bare ground just a few feet away. I called the others, and we had some superb views of 3 territorial males chasing each other over the water surface and, after short staccato flights, landing on the bare ground virtually at our feet (which I believe is characteristic). Beautiful little insects – albeit a lot smaller than I had expected – and through binoculars we could see every detail of the white frons, red and black thoracic and abdominal markings, and spots on the upper surface.
After some 20 minutes we headed off to see if there were others but, when this proved unsuccessful (although we did have brief views of what we think was Common Hawker) we returned to the bog pool to find a single male and a ovipositing female laying her eggs in a saturated clump of aquatic moss. I don't think we could've asked for any better from our first ever sighting of this species!
- As well as many black darters and emerald damselflies, some four-spotted chasers and a single southern hawker, there were still white-faced darters to be found on Whixall Moss
As well as many black darters and emerald damselflies, some four-spotted chasers and a single southern hawker, there were still white-faced darters to be found on Whixall Moss
- Willow emeralds in Essex
This week saw the first emerging Willow emeralds in Gt Braxted, Essex about 10-12 individuals seen at a small pond together with Broad-bodied and 4 Spotted chasers. On a coastal grazing marsh today good numbers of Scarce emerald damsels (30-40) with a very late Hairy dragonfly.and abundant Ruddy darters and Blue-tailed damsels.
- Breconshire VC42
- Dragons at Mynydd Illtyd, Breconshire SN9525, 9625 on Sat 20 July
Two productive hours 3.00-5.00 at the western end of Mynydd Illtyd about 5 miles west of Brecon, by the largest pool which was the only one still wet, and along a short stretch of the Camlais stream. Totals: 35 Keeled Skimmers, 22 Four-spotted Chasers, 13 Common Hawkers, 8 Black Darters, 50 Azure, 50 Common Emerald, 30 Scarce Blue-tailed and 4 Large Red damselflies. There are one or two past records of Keeled Skimmer here but this was my first sighting. Lots of breeding activity including a male Keeled Skimmer in cop with a female Black Darter.
- West Sussex
- Southern Hawker West Sussex
A solitary female Southern Hawker hanging in a tree near Carterslodge Pond, Handcross West Sussex.
- Brown hawker dragonfly seen resting in back garden
Brown hawker dragonfly seen resting in shade on cherry tree in back garden. Beautiful gold markings on wings.Nearest open water is approx 1mile away (river Stour or possibly Longham reservoirs)
- Thursley Common
Thursley Common: There were seven Golden-ringed Dragonflies along the stream that runs out of Pudmore and N across Elstead Common. I found none last year as the bottom of the stream was blackened and waterside vegetation was gone due to a fire the previous year. It was formerly a good site for Brilliant Emeralds too; perhaps they will return next year. Beautiful Demoiselles still at low numbers along the stream; they were formerly abundant.
The Moat Pond is very poor for Dragons and Damsels, compared to how it was in the 80's. A recent sweep around the jetty revealed a considerable number of Goldfish, but it is difficult to see how they can be removed. My plan would be to create an island so that herons can fish for them as the edges of the pond are too deep even for a heron to wade. Also the water quality needs to be checked. Can BDS organise something for this important pond? Litte Grebes have ceased breeding on the pond within the last few years, whereas they used to breed ever year. That must indicate something is wrong. Ony one Downy and one Brilliant Emerald were seen there.
In the SE corner of the bog five White-legged Damselflies in their regular spot.
- Brokholes Wetlands
Brokholes Wetlands: A coordinated count by five recorders (covering the whole Reserve) was made for Emperors and large 'hawker' dragonflies in 28C temperatures today. Counts were as follows: Emperor (24), Brown Hawker (54), Broad-bodied Chaser (12), Southern Hawker (2), Black-tailed Skimmer (18). Ovipositing females were also observed. Not counted, but present in good numbers, were also Four-spotted Chasers and Common Darters. A few recently-emerged Emerald Damselflies and many other 'blue' damselflies were also seen. On behalf of AH, BG, CP, RS & MF.
Old quarry behind Roydon Common, Kings Lynn.
Three female ovipositing Emperor's together with two sometimes, three males over the pond.
9-12 Four-spotted chasers were chasing, mating and ovipositing all day.
Female Southern Hawker wasn't tollerated over the pond, but kept trying all day, Brown Hawkers could stay though!
Emerald Damselflies were present in their hundreds with fresh ones emerging all day
Common and Ruddy Darters were abundant, emerging and taking maiden flights all day.
The sedges and reed stems were covered with exuvia in places
One Male Black-tailed Skimmer on pond vegetation and one female in the parched surroundings.
Always a great dragonfly site to spend a day
- Dowrog Common: 28 Small Red Damsels including 8 in cop and a male Keeled Skimmer was a new species for me at this site.
Dowrog Common: 28 Small Red Damsels including 8 in cop and a male Keeled Skimmer was a new species for me at this site.
- Amwell in Hertfordshire
Great day today at Amwell in Hertfordshire today I saw 4+ Emperor,1 Female Common Darter,1 Male Ruddy Darter,2 Brown Hawkers,1 Four Spotted Chaser,and many Common,Blue Tailed and 1 Banded Demoiselle
- Golden-ringed dragonfly
An obviously golden-ringed dragonfly has just flown in and out of our patio door… we back onto wet woodland and the river Bourne, South of Windsor Great Park. I had never seen anything like it before…
- lestes sponsa Emerald Damselfly at Bulworthy ponds
lestes sponsa Emerald Damselfly at Bulworthy ponds at about 5 pm i paid a visit to my local ponds and saw several Emerald Damselflys in the long grass also saw 2 Goldring 1 male and 1 Female 3 male Emporers 1 female and 1 Four spot Chaser
- West Sussex
- Keeled Skimmers
A male and female Keeled Skimmer on Blackdown, West Sussex today. I have not seen them here before.
- Cornwall – Marazion Marsh RSPB
Marazion Marsh RSPB: Unbroken sunshine again, hot, some breeze from NW-NE.
1 Scarce Chaser. I have never seen this species at this location before.
Broad-bodied Chaser: 5+ male over water, 1 female perching, feeding, returning to perch. Black-tailed Skimmer : 5+ male over water, 2 worn female. Emperor : 2 male. 4-Spot : 4-5 over water. Common Darter : 2. Beautiful Demoiselle : 10+ males and females seen in limited view of stream. Blue-tailed Damsel : 1 only seen here.
Marston Marshes, River Yare, Norwich: quick mid-day visit in scorching heat. Since I last looked here in 2011, Norfolk Hawkers really seem to have consolidated their presence along the dyke network that was restored four years ago and I counted 10 males holding territories (only 2 seen in July 2011), chasing off passing Brown Hawkers and sparing with the ever abundant Four-spotted Chasers. On the other hand fewer Emperors (only a male and an ovipositing female) may be due to less open water available as the dykes mature. Even Banded Demoiselles seemed to be quite numerous along the dykes and the adjacent stretch of the River Yare is really good for them. Two immature Common Darters and still good numbers of Azure Damsels also seen.
- Warren Heath
PR and I made our first ever visit to Warren Heath (VC12) and were amazed. We saw 22 species of odonata including four Brilliant Emerald males, a slightly larger number of Downies and a less expected ovipositing Hairy Dragonfly.
- Many common blue damselflies at Longleat Center Parcs lake.
Many common blue damselflies at Longleat Center Parcs lake. Midday.
- Female Black-tailed Skimmer, Female Emperor, Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Azure Damselflies on Langar Village Pond, Nottinghamshire
100+ Common Blue Damselfly, 50+ Azure Damselfly and 25+ Blue-tailed Damselfly in addition to a large number of damselfly exuviae proving that breeding has taken place in the first full year since Langar Village Pond was restored in Autumn 2011. 1 female Black-tailed Skimmer and 1 female Emperor, both ovipositing.
- River Wey Navigational, Pyrford Lock area: 50+ Banded Demoiselles, 10+ Beautiful Demoiselles and 3 Brown Hawkers
River Wey Navigational, Pyrford Lock area: 50+ Banded Demoiselles, 10+ Beautiful Demoiselles and 3 Brown Hawkers
- Greater London
- Small Red-eyed Damselflies at Saffron Avenue Pond, Leamouth, East London
At Saffron Avenue Pond, in the East India Dock business park in Tower Hamlets, at least 5 pairs of Small Red-eyed Damselflies in tandem and ovipositing. Also 50+ Red-eyed Damselflies, hundreds of Common Blue Damselflies, a few Blue-tailed Damselflies and 4 Emperors including an ovipositing female.
- Female Brown Hawker laying eggs in shallow reeds area of the lake at Sudbury Hall.
Female Brown Hawker laying eggs in shallow reeds area of the lake at Sudbury Hall.. Several Males patrolling territory on the lake, female returned several times to lay eggs. Other species, not identified, in area.
- Trench Wood Worcestershire
Trench Wood Worcestershire: Brown Hawker, Large red Damselflies in cop and a Single ♂ Teneral Broad-bodied Chaser perched next to its exuvia (flickr link) on a rapidly drying out pool.
On a stretch of the River Yare between Cringleford bridge and the UEA Broad, there were six Norfolk Hawkers this afternoon. At one good vantage point I watched four together, one of which offered some good photographic opportunities as it kept resting in the reeds where I was standing, a further two had been observed earlier on a different section of the river.
Five Emperor's had their own sections of the river, one female observed ovipositing.
- During a brief, late afternoon visit to Cors Fochno (Borth bog) we saw 18 Small Red ,12 Common Blue and 8 Blue-tailed Damselflies, 3 Black Darter, 1 Southern Hawker, 1 Black-tailed Skimmer and 2 Four-spotted Chasers.
During a brief, late afternoon visit to Cors Fochno (Borth bog) we saw 18 Small Red ,12 Common Blue and 8 Blue-tailed Damselflies, 3 Black Darter, 1 Southern Hawker, 1 Black-tailed Skimmer and 2 Four-spotted Chasers.
- Willow Emerald damselfly on the wing in East Suffolk 15 July 2013
Willow Emerald damselfly on the wing in East Suffolk
River Yare, Cringleford, Norwich. Good to see the Norfolk Hawker still present on this stretch along with a Hairy and several Brown Hawkers and male Emperors
- Pipps Ford Near Needham Market along the River Gipping
Pipps Ford Near Needham Market along the River Gipping: 8 Brown Hawker 5 Emperor 2 Scarce Chaser, 7 small red-eyed damselflies, 10 red-eyed damselflies, hundreds of Banded Demosielles
- Southern Hawker
Male Southern Hawker on the Egleton Reserve at Rutland Water at 20.00
- Broad-bodied Chasers at Whitestones Ponds
At Whitestones Ponds, part of Twywell Hills and Dales, there was incredible action this lunchtime. The ponds are quite small and on the smallest were 4 Broad-bodied Chasers clashing madly over what little territory was available. On the two main ponds, 5 more Broad-bodied Chasers clashed with a handful of Four-spotted Chasers while a couple of Brown Hawkers buzzed nonchalantly above them all. Closer to the water, 10 Ruddy Darter were perched at territory with two pairs ovipositing. Several Azure Damselflies were also egg-laying. Some photos on my blog.