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
- Sound Common Migrant Hawkers
Sound Heath, Nantwich, Cheshire. Three male and one female Migrant Hawkers sighted at this SSSI site on our first visit. Also large numbers of Common Darters. Photograph records taken.
- Camera teasing southern hawker
New Forest – Dockens water. Watched over a period of an hour, single male patrolling its territory. Quite a few times hovered about a foot from my head but every time I took a picture it darted off – absolutely fascinating. It was on the wing for a long time without catching anything. Wings made a helicopter rotor noise on tight maneuvers.
- Large numbers of Migrant Hawkers Ham Wall
At least 500 Migrant Hawkers at Ham Wall RSPB reserve in late afternoon sunshine.
Also still a few Brown Hawkers.
- Isle of Wight
- Southern Hawker (2) laying eggs
2 SHs, laying eggs on reed stems in garden pond. Isle of Wight
- Greater London
- Suburban garden visitor
Female Southern Hawker dragonfly seen in suburban garden in London.
- Emperor visits
Emperor dragonfly inspecting our newly created wildlife pond has been around for three or four days
- Argyll and Bute
- Lochside Emperor
Male Emperor hunting across a road between beechwood verge and shoreside rough vegetation.
- GARDEN DRAGONFLY
I had just got the mower out of the shed, I looked down and saw a large golden ringed dragonfly on the grass. It was alive and trying to fly but had sustained severe damage to it’s abdomen. I was not sure whether it had been in the mower and was damaged when I pulled the mower out or whether damage had been caused elsewhere. I put the dragonfly in a quiet place but it was obviously mortally injured. I was still alive several hours later.
- Highland and Islands
- A Friend
My ‘Friend’ and I had a hour-long tryst at the head of Loch Hope in lovely hot, bright, sunshine. He was a White-faced Darter. First of all he sat on my bare leg, then arm, finally on the back of my hand, where he stayed for about 30 minutes, apart from quick excursions to catch a small fly. He seemed quite content eating there, and didn’t budge when pages were turned (I was sat reading in the sunshine) nor when I sipped tea. We had a wonderful face-to-face encounter. At the site were Blue Darters too, but this little fellow was quite something else. Memorable!
- Ruddy darters on Louth canal
Several along footpath by canal
- Seen Hawking around Duddon Mosses
Common Hawker male Duddon Mosses resting on boardwalk
- Black Darter in shiny black
Black Darter male, Duddon Mosses
- Female Black Darter
Female Black Darter, Duddon Mosses
- Red veined darter
A red veined darter perched on the pink plastic flower shaped cane topper. He was there for nearly 30 minutes, with occasional circuits of the garden. Not bothered by close up camera. Bright sunshine, breezy.
- Darter on wire
Spotted on wire fence bordering heathland in Surrey. Keen to know if this is Common Darter (seems likely) or other. I think this is female. Pale wing spots confusing. No obvious yellow or red veins in wings, so Common seems likely based on the brilliant (and recently acquired) “Britain’s Dragonflies” field guide. My picture is not 100% focus as taken using 300mm telephoto at max zoom (see Instagram link below). Would appreciate an expert view. Lots of dragonflies on the wing – many mating.
- Southern Hawker in Loughborough.
We have a large garden pond and the insect spent several minutes flying around it’s banks, giving me a splendid show.
- Black Darter – Uath Lochans
At least 3 male Black Darter on boardwalk of white trail at Uath Lochans this afternoon.
- Black Darter – RSPB Loch Insh lookout
At least a dozen Black Darter on the access boards / handrails to the RSPB Loch Insh lookout this afternoon / early evening. About even male vs female. NN775998. Good close views but irritatingly, lousy, un-natural background (board walk / handrails) for photography! Can’t have everything! Did see a peregrine.
- Last year and again this week.
Very Large Southern Hawker, ( I think). Comes into house , has a good look round sitting room and leaves.
- Late keeled skimmer, Norfolk
At Holt Country Park (Holt Lowes SSSI), a single male keeled skimmer still on the wing – a sighting late in the year. There were also about five (one female, four males) a week ago (10 Sept), same place.
I also photographed a dead keeled skimmer caught by a four-spot orb web spider.
- Willow Emerald Damselfly
Willow Emerald Damselfly at Barnwell Country Park, Oundle
- Greater London
- Red-veined Darter
Seen by new wildlife pond at Walworth Garden.
- Stunning Southern Hawkers
Several Male and Female Southern Hawkers in flight and at rest perched on long grasses and high in the tree canopy
- Warwickshire, Birmingham, Black Country
- Golden Ringed Dragonfly
Onr flew in to the veranda and hovered by the glass window for a short time before flying out
- Sainsburys Migrant Hawker
Saw at least three individuals at our local site next to Sainsburys supermarket in Leek. This is the first time we have recorded this species at this site. Photo record added to irecord.
- Garden visitor
Southern Hawker in rear garden on 2 consecutive days
- Southern Hawker egg laying
Female Southern Hawker was clearly laying eggs in the new plants we had just put in the rocks around our garden pond.
- Notts Willow Emeralds
The wife and I took a walk along the Chesterfield Canal at Gringley and were surprised to see 2 Willow Emeralds on bank-side Figwort. Our first Notts records for this Damselfly.
- Enormous Southern Hawker
This dragonfly visits us every day. She flies in and out of out conservatory – and around the fountain.
- Warwickshire, Birmingham, Black Country
Southern Hawker flying around in my conservatory