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.
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.