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.
Avon. There was an impressive number of Banded Demoiselles flying by the river. Also saw several Scarce Chasers as well perched on the bank-side nettles.
- Banded Demoiselle, Four Spot Chasers copu/ovip, Large Red, Azure & Blue tail damselflies seen, garden wildlife pond, Norwich
Norwich. It was the warmest day of the year so far (temperature 24c) and two Four spotted Chasers were seen copulating over the garden wildlife pond, and then the female starting laying eggs. At 2.50pm I was totally surprised to see a Banded Demoiselle visit the pond. I managed to get a few photos, before it flew off (it was only by the pond for less than a minute). I live on a housing estate in Norwich (and the nearest river is several miles away), so very, very surprised and delighted to see this Banded Demoiselle visit the pond! Large Reds and Azures were ovipositing and a Blue tailed damselfly was also seen. Photos of the Banded Demoiselle can be seen on my website by clicking the following link: http://www.davidboulton.co.uk/gallery_410877.html
- Fen Drayton sightings
Good numbers and variety around Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB and along the River Ouse: Banded Demoiselle (100), Large Red Damselfly (1), Common Blue Damselfly (thousands), Variable Damselfly (20), Azure Damselfly (20), Blue-tailed Damselfly (100), Red-eyed Damselfly (50), Brown Hawker (1), Emperor (2), Hairy Dragonfly (10), Four-spotted Chaser (15), Scarce Chaser (20), Black-tailed Skimmer (10) and Ruddy Darter (1)
- Downy Emeralds at Wake Valley Pond, Epping Forest
5+ Downy Emeralds, 1 Hairy Dragonfly, 20 4-Spot Chasers and 4 Emperors on wing over Wake Valley Pond. Also good numbers of Azure, Large Red-eyed and some Large Red Damsels.
- 3 Hairy dragonflies, 20 Banded Demoiselles, 1 Red-eyed damsel seen at Cornmill Meadows, Essex
3 Hairy dragonflies, 20 Banded Demoiselles, 1 Red-eyed damsel seen at Cornmill Meadows, Essex
- Wheatfen Broad – scarce chaser & banded demoiselle; Strumpshaw Fen – Norfolk hawker and four-spotted chaser
Wheatfen Broad nature reserve, lunchtime: Large numbers of scarce chaser and banded demoiselle. Also a few Norfolk hawker and immature black-tailed skimmer. Red-eyed, blue-tailed and azure damsels and a single fresh common blue.
Strumpshaw Fen, mid-afternoon: good numbers of Norfolk hawker and four-spotted chaser, showing off well. Vast numbers of ovipositing azure damsels. A few large red and blue-tailed.
- Wiltshire VC 7/8
- Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilio) discoverd on Salisbury Plain
After alerting Iain Perkins to the fact that the habitat [temporary pools] he is studying on Salisbury Plain for Fairy Shrimp (Chirocephalus diaphanous) is similar to that used by Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly, he agreed to look out for this species during this years studies. The end result is that on 29th June he found I. pumilio at a pool along with I. elegans in the middle of the Plain – and even provided photographic evidence!
This is a new area for this species in Wiltshire although I have suspected it might be present there for several years. Iain will now look out for it as he works across the Plain studying the Shrimp.
You can see an image on my blog.
- Three male Red veined Darters on a small pool within the Hythe Firing Ranges with no public access.
Observed three male Red veined Darters patrolling a small brackish pool within the MOD Hythe Firing Ranges, Kent. The site is not open to the public.
- Damselfly Larvae in Langar Village Pond, Nottinghamshire
Several damselfly larvae were found during a pond dipping event at Langar Village Pond. Although the species were not identified there was a range of sizes indicating a series of instars. Such evidence of breeding is encouraging as the pond was only re-excavated and restored on its historic site in autumn 2011.
- Dragonflies New Forest
New Forest. An afternoon at Crockford Bridge produced 1m Golden ringed Dragonfly; 4 Keeled Skimmer; 2 Broad bodied Chaser; 1 Four Spot Chaser; 4 Beutiful Demoiselle; 1 Large Red Damselfly and numerous Common Blue Damselfly
Old quarry, Roydon Common near Kings Lynn Two Male Emperor's and ovipositing female plus two Emperor exuvia found and collected on the same pond, which was dominated by Four-spotted Chasers, males chasing males , mating pairs and ovipositing females along with many more making their maiden flights from the margins. So much activity. Six Emerald Damselflys also noted.
R yare. Cringleford, Several tandem pairs of Willow Emerald today along with a possible Scarce Emerald! resting and ovipositing into decaying 6 inch high plant stems close to the bankside.