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.
- 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
- Lunch time dragons
I spent a few hours canoeing along the Lodes around Wicken Fen. At midday i took a lunch break in a sunny sheltered area. Delighted to see at least 4 Migrant Hawkers, including a pair copulating.6 Common Darters, males and females also seen, again 1 pair copulating. 1 larger dragonfly flew past a couple of times. What i could see of the dragonfly suggested a male Southern Hawker.
- Southern Hawker Glastonbury
Single male Southern Hawker at garden pond with a Common Darter
- Emperor surprise
A single Emperor dragonfly at my Garden pond
- Brief Encounter
I arrived at Wicken Fen in the pouring rain. Fortunately it stopped shortly after my arrival so my walk was still on. As i walked beside Wicken Lode the sun emerged from the clouds for a few minutes. 2.26pm-2.37pm,during which i saw 2 male Migrant Hawkers hawking insects.
- United Kingdom
- Beautiful emperor in Burley
A majestic navy blue emperor giving a wonderful display over a lake, unbothered by the rain.
- Vagrant Emperors Shapwick Heath NNR
Two Vagrant Emperors along the main path near the east end of Noahs Lake at Shapwick Heath NNR.
Also 40+ Common Darters and 20+ Migrant Hawkers in the warm sunshine
- Vagrant Emperor
Male at the western edge of Holkham Pines for at least fifteen minutes. A possible second about 200 yards west on Burnham Overy Dunes, flight views only.
- Southern migrant hawker
Arundel wetland centre sussex
- Southern Hawker
A lone male Southern Hawker was patrolling the southern pond at Ravensroost Meadows this afternoon, despite temperatures of about 12C. The late date isn’t completely unexpected – it’s only my second latest for the site, but I was surprised due to the cold weather recently.
- Vagrant Emperor Sherborne Lake
Vagrant Emperor flying around large field on east side of castle above the lake.
Also a few Migrant Hawkers around the lake.
- Magic Sun!
I was enjoying an afternoon walk around Wicken Fen despite the cloudy conditions. Turning on to the path leading to West Mere Hide the sun emerged from behind the clouds. As if by magic several dragons emerged. 5 Common Darters-2 males and 3 females, 2 Willow Emerald Damselflies and 1 male Migrant Hawker. Photos taken. 2.22pm-3.03pm.
- Inquisitive Emperors
I had been to this pond before to watch Dragonflies/Damselflies but this time the Emperor Dragonflies became very tame and kept flying right up to us to check us out, never experienced this before. Even landing on my friends shoe and seemed like it was trying to deposit eggs on her shoe.
- Common Hawker Ham Wall
Single Common Hawker by VP2 Ham Wall RSPB.
Also a few Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers
- Common Darters in the sun
I was very pleased the sun came out whilst i was walking along Harrisons Drove Wicken Fen. It bought out several Common Darters. I counted 7 males and 2 females. Also 2 male Migrant Hawkers and 1 female.1.30pm-2.30pm.
- October Egg-laying
Sunday 11th October an ovipositing Aeshna cyanea Southern Hawker on our Hampshire garden pond. Also a Sympetrum striolatum Common Darter on the same pond.No doubts on identification
- Sitting on the fence
I saw what appeared to be a Common darter Sitting on the fence in Norfolk.
- Brown Hawker and other dragonflies at Ham Wall
In the sun at Ham Wall RSPB reserve a single Brown Hawker , 75+ Migrant Hawkers , 250+ Common Darters and a few Ruddy Darters.
- Flying low at Thanet Earth
female Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta
- Sunshine Visitors
Red Darter (maybe male) sat by the pond in the sun on September 7th in Bolsover.
Two Southern or Common Hawkers zipping round each other in the garden on September 13th, Bolsover.
- southern hawker laying eggs
dyffryn gardens, watched for 30 mins laying eggs
- Female Southern Hawker Laying eggs in pond side moss
Female Southern Hawker at a private fishing pond at Maiden Law Durham
- Golden Ring Dragonfly sighted today
Just caught sight of this beautiful Dragonfly in my garden. WR9 7PE area. Drat, always the way when you have no camera to hand. Came and checked details and as this was easily four inches in length I must assume it was a female Golden Ringed Dragonfly. She swept around skimming the lawn then swooped over the one fence, came back, had another look around the garden then flew off over the other fence. She was spectacular, How lucky to see her. I will now be hoping to spot her again.
- The last dragons.
Despite the weather not being very favourable for dragonflies, i was pleased to see 4 Migrant Hawkers, 3 males and 1 female at Wicken Fen this afternoon. Also 1 male Common Darter and 1 Willow Emerald Damselfly.1.oopm-4.00pm.
- Greater London
- A vision in green and brown
Saw this large Dragonfly laying eggs on dying foliage at the edge of a wildlife pond on the local allotment site at 2pm this afternoon.
I think it’s a female Southern Hawker
- Black Isle Dragons
Two Northern Emerald (one female)
One Common Hawker
Kingsley Wood Way in the Millbuie Forest. Near a deep peaty ditch in an area of sparse young coniferous trees with mixed scrub (heather, willow, gorse, broom etc). Sunny and relatively warm (~13 deg C) for the time of year with light breeze (<5 Km/hr).
- hickling abundant
common darters hundreds everywhere you looked, migrant hawker 30 plus.
hickling broad norfolk.
- Inquisitive and close
Saw a black and green southern hawker dragonfly at my local park Walverden park in nelson
- emperors in south wales
emperors in south wales. 3 this morning. Cardiff. not world shattering news I know. All the best y’all.
- Female Southern Hawker, Teign Gorge
Female Southern Hawker resting on sunny heath high on the south-facing steep slopes of the Teign Gorge below Castle Drogo, Devon.