Hot Spots in Scotland

Click on the links below to take you to the information about each Hotspot.

1 - Crombie Country Park

2 - Greenhead Moss Local Nature Reserve near Wishaw in North Lanarkshire

3 - Gartcosh Local Nature Reserve

4 - Morton Lochs

5 - Portmoak Moss

6 - Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve in Aberdeen

7 - Trottick Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve in Dundee

8 - Devilla Forest near Kincardine

9 - Flanders Moss near Stirling

10 - Caerlaverock Wetland Centre near Dumfries

 

Crombie Country Park near Carnoustie in Angus

 

Crombie Country Park is one of the new Dragonfly Hotspots established in Scotland in 2014. It is owned by Angus Council and managed by Angus Council Ranger Service. There are three areas where dragonflies can be easily spotted – close to Crombie Loch, Peddieston Ponds and Heron Pond.

 

Key Species: Black Darter

The Site: Crombie Country Park is made up of 102 hectares, including Crombie Loch, ponds, grassland, heathland, broadleaf and coniferous woodlands. There are waymarked walks, orienteering trails, marquees for hire and lots of information in the Visitor Centre. If you want to get off the beaten track, that is easy to do too. Heron Pond has undergone management recently to remove vegetation and erect a viewing platform so it’s all the easier to see the dragonflies!

Getting there: Crombie Country Park, Monikie, Angus, DD5 3QL. From Monikie follow the B961 for two miles, the park entrance is on the left. From the A92, take the Muirdrum turn off, turn left at the Crombie crossroads onto the B961, the park entrance is on the right after one mile. There is a car park (parking charges apply from Easter to October) at the entrance to the park, disabled drivers can park close to the Visitor Centre.

When to visit: Large Red Damselflies are the earliest emerging species, which can be seen from mid-April onwards (depending on the weather). The Black Darters can be seen in July & August sunbathing on the railings and boardwalks, and hunting over the heathland around Heron and Peddieston Ponds.

Also good for: Red squirrels are found throughout the coniferous woodland, many butterflies are on the wing on sunny days and Green and Great spotted woodpeckers nest in the trees close to the Visitor Centre. Ospreys can be seen fishing in the loch and there are two hides from which to enjoy watching all the wildlife.

Other dragonfly species found here include Common Darter, Common Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, Large Red Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly.

Greenhead Moss Local Nature Reserve near Wishaw in North Lanarkshire

 

Greenhead Moss Local Nature Reserve is one of the new Dragonfly Hotspots established in Scotland in 2014. It is owned and managed by a partnership including Greenhead Moss Community Trust and North Lanarkshire Council. There are a number of ponds found on the site, as well as small pools on the Moss, which host nine species of dragonfly.

 

Key Species: Emerald Damselfly

The Site:  Greenhead Moss is a 110ha site consisting of many different habitats including ponds, wildflower meadows, remnant raised peat bog, old and new woodlands.  These habitats are home to mammals including badger, roe deer and fox with many insects and birds present. There is a good path network throughout the site; most paths are tarmac and accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Getting there: Greenhead Moss LNR, Wishaw, ML2 8AY. Situated to the east of Wishaw town centre, there are a number of different access points to the reserve by foot; Lochview path, Moss Cottage path, Orchard path, Waterloo path, the Creamery Rd entrance, Liam’s Lane, Tinto path and Iris path. By bus and train – from Wishaw Station it is 10 minutes away via Hill St and Stewarton St to the Creamery Rd entrance. By car - head for Creamery Road or Waterloo at the south end of the park, off the A721.

When to visit: The Emerald Damselflies can be seen close to the smaller ponds and pools from early July through to September, especially around the pond with the dipping platform. Dragonflies hunt in the surrounding wildflower meadows. The earliest emerging damselflies can be seen from mid-April onwards, with sightings still being possible into sunny days in October.

Also good for: Roe deer grazing on the Moss, wildfowl on Perchy Pond, Common centaury in the wildflower meadows and amphibians breeding in the Moss pools. Other dragonfly species found here include Common Darter, Black Darter, Common Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser Large Red Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly.

Gartcosh Local Nature Reserve near Gartcosh in North Lanarkshire

 

Gartcosh Local Nature Reserve is one of the new Dragonfly Hotspots established in Scotland in 2014. It is owned and managed by North Lanarkshire Council. Over twenty ponds can be found in meadows throughout the reserve and dragonflies can be easily spotted nearby.

 

Key Species: Four-spotted Chaser

The Site:  Gartcosh Local Nature Reserve was established as a habitat for amphibians - most notably the Great Crested Newt - as part of the development of the Gartcosh Strategic Investment Site. Twenty four ponds of varying size and shape were created and amphibians were moved from the development site to the reserve over a period of years. These ponds have now become a haven for wildlife - not only for amphibians but also dragonflies and other invertebrates such as butterflies.

Getting there: By car, the reserve can be found just off junction 2A of the M73. Turn left at the roundabout onto Auldyards Rd for parking & access into the reserve. Gartcosh Railway Station is ten minutes walk away along Auldyards Rd and Craignethan Drive. It lies within easy walking distance of both Gartcosh and Glenboig and links both villages by a network of footpaths one of which is the popular “Ducks Walk”. There is also a well-lit cycleway through the reserve, which runs from Glenboig to Gartcosh Railway Station.
When to visit: The Four-spotted Chasers can be seen on the wing from late May to early August. They hunt over the wild flower meadows surrounding the ponds and the males can be very territorial. On cool days, they can be found roosting on pondside vegetation. The earliest emerging species are Large Red Damselflies and Common Hawkers can be seen into September.

Also good for: Roe deer grazing in the meadows, Great crested newts foraging on a summer evening (if you are very lucky!), a wealth of wild flowers including various species of orchids, Burnet moths and bluebell woodland.

Other dragonfly species found here include Common Darter, Black Darter, Common Hawker, Large Red Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly.

Morton Lochs, near Tayport, in Fife

 

Morton Lochs, part of Tentsmuir NNR, is one of the new Dragonfly Hotspots established in Scotland in 2014. It is owned and managed by Scottish Natural heritage. Dragonflies can be seen around the lochs and along the paths close by.

 

Key Species: Common Darter

The Site:  Morton Lochs is made up of three small lochs fringed with reeds, which provide shelter and protection for many birds and animals. The lochs were created in 1906 by the local landowner, who flooded an area of the dune heath for fishing. The lochs quickly became an important freshwater habitat, attracting large numbers of breeding and wintering wildfowl. In 1952 the importance of Morton Lochs was recognised and the area designated a National Nature Reserve, only the second in the UK at the time.

Work is on-going to maintain a balance between open water and vegetation by clearing scrub and reeds to create the important habitats needed to support the rich variety of plants, animals and insects which thrive at Morton Lochs.

Getting there: Head south from Tayport on the B945 for 1.7 miles then take a sharp left onto a minor road which leads to the car park (total distance = 2.5 miles). The road to the car park is single track, with limited passing places and an aggregate surface. By public transport - the nearest bus stops are in Tayport and Leuchars. Buses will stop by request at the Morton Lochs road end. The nearest station is Leuchars on the Edinburgh - Aberdeen line. By bike - the Falkland to Monifieth via St Andrews section of NCN Route 1 (Edinburgh - Aberdeen) passes Kinshaldy Beach, and a small diversion will take you to Morton Lochs. On foot - the St Andrews to Tay Bridge section of the Fife Coastal Path runs through Tentsmuir NNR and a small diversion, again, will take you to Morton Lochs. Tayport Heath to the north of the Reserve is easily accessed on foot from the village of Tayport.

When to visit: The earliest emerging damselflies can be seen from around mid-April onwards. Sunny days in July and August are most likely to result in the highest number of species spotted – Common and Black Darters can be easily spotted along the woodland rides close to the lochs and hunting in the adjoining open areas. Visit during winter to experience the spectacular sights and sounds of hundreds of teal gathering on the lochs.

Also good for: There are five wildlife hides around Morton Lochs – all great places to watch wildlife or to just relax in the peace and quiet. Water rail, little grebe, tufted duck, goldeneye, marsh harrier, ospreys, kingfishers, red squirrels and otters are all regularly seen on or around the lochs.

Other dragonfly species found here include Black Darter, Common Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Large Red Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly. Emperor dragonflies and Red-veined Darters have been recorded here, which are amongst the most northerly sightings on record.

Portmoak Moss at Scotlandwell in Perth & Kinross

Portmoak Moss is one of the new Dragonfly Hotspots established in Scotland in 2014. It is owned by Woodland Trust Scotland and recent habitat management has greatly improved conditions for Dragonflies.

 

Key Species: Common Hawker

The Site: Portmoak Moss is one of the few surviving raised bogs (areas of deep, wet peat) in central Scotland. Since 2002, a habitat restoration project has been underway to restore the core of the peat dome to a functional raised bog by removing tree cover and damming ditches across 12ha of the site. Sphagnum species are now showing a strong recovery. Dragonflies breed in the blocked drainage runnels and hunt across the heather moorland of the Moss.

Getting there: Portmoak Moss lies just south-east of the village of Scotlandwell. The site can be most easily reached on foot from the village centre of Scotlandwell. From the main road junction follow the B920 south for 150m to the edge of the village, then turn right down a track (signpost 'Portmoak Moss') for a further 180m to enter the wood through a multi-access gate. For car users, there is a lay-by on the track where parking is permitted by the landowner. Portmoak Moss can be reached by public transport by bus to Scotlandwell. From the bus stop in the village centre directions are as described above. The closest rail access is to Markinch, and then by the regular bus services to Scotlandwell via Glenrothes Bus Station. There is a surfaced path loop of 1870m which encircles the bog restoration area as well as passing through the woodland.

When to visit: The best time to see the greatest number of dragonflies is on a sunny day throughout July and August, but early-emerging damselflies can be spotted from late April onwards. The Common Hawkers can be seen mating and then ovipositing in the drainage runnels throughout August.

Also good for: Green woodpeckers can be heard yaffling in the woodland, where red squirrels can also be spotted. Roe deer can be seen feeding on the edges of the Moss and Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries are on the wing in June and July. Other dragonfly species found here include Common Darter, Black Darter, Four-spotted Chaser, Large Red Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly.

 

Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve in Aberdeen

Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve in Aberdeen is our most northerly Hotspot in Scotland. Owned by Aberdeen City Council and managed by the Council’s Countryside Ranger Service, dragonflies can be seen around the ponds at both ends of the reserve, and along the paths close by.

Key Species: Black Darter 

The Site:  Found to the north of Aberdeen, Scotstown Moor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the presence of a very rare plant – the Black Bog Rush – which can be found in one of the wetland areas. The site is made up of a variety of habitats including plantation woodland, grassland, heathland, scrub, marshy grassland and open water.

Access throughout the site is easy with wide, surfaced paths. There are some slopes but no steep hills.

Getting there: Car access is off the B997 Scotstown Road, with a car park at NJ 93293 11782. Pedestrian access is possible from various points on Scotstown Road, Dubford Road and Dubford Estate. The Auchinyell – Scotstown bus service operates along ScotstownRd, more details from Firstbus Aberdeen on 01224 650000.

When to visit: The earliest emerging species should be found from mid to late April onwards. The reserve really comes into its own in July and August when the Darters and Common Hawkers can be seen flying around the wetlands and adjoining heathland.

Also good for: A whole host of wildlife can be found around the different habitats – kestrels and short-eared owl over the grassland, tawny owl in the woodlands, small pearl-bordered fritillary close to the wetland areas and roe deer grazing at dawn and dusk.

Other dragonfly species found here include Common Darter, Common Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, Large Red Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly.

 

 

Trottick Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve, Dundee

Trottick Mill Ponds LNR is made up of two old mill ponds, reedbeds, a burn, woodland and a meadow. It is owned by Dundee City Council and managed by Dundee Council Ranger Service. Dragonflies can be easily spotted around the two ponds and alongside the paths.

 

Key Species: Common Darter Trottick Mill Ponds LNR

The Site: Trottick Mill Ponds were built over 200 years ago to provide water for the Claverhouse Bleach Works - a finishing mill for linen production. Water from the Dighty Burn, which runs through Trottick Local Nature Reserve, was used to power a water wheel serving the linen mill. It was also used in the cleaning and drying processes of the factory.

The meadow area next to the ponds was used to dry huge sheets of material and kept short and clean for this purpose. This has meant that there is a huge variety of wild flowers present there today.

Access is easy on the various paths that cross the reserve, there are benches to rest on and   accessible bankside areas to help you get close to dragonfly larvae and other water life!

Getting there:  Trottick Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve. Old Claverhouse Road, Dundee DD4 9DN. The reserve can be accessed by foot or bicycle from Old Claverhouse Rd, William Fitzgerald Way, Millburn Gardens and Mansion Drive. By car -  situated off Claverhouse Rd which runs between Old Glamis Rd to the west and Forfar Rd to the east. Turn onto Barns of Claverhouse Rd then left onto Old Claverhouse Rd. National Express Dundee buses 18 and 19 depart from stop 3, Albert Square, in the city centre and take around 20 minutes to get to Claverhouse Rd.

When to visit: Common Darters can be seen from July to September and may be found sunbathing on the bankside vegetation. Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Emerald Damselflies are also found here, with Emerald Damselflies being on the wing until mid October. We think there are more species of dragonfly found at Trottick – please let us know if you spot any.

Also good for:  The paths are lined with Wild garlic in the spring and many wildflowers and butterflies are found in the meadow area. A pair of Mute swans nest here, raising their cygnets over the summer. Pipistrelle bats can be spotted hunting over the reserve in the evening. Dundee Ranger Service carries out regular volunteer tasks at the reserve – if you would like to get involved, please contact countryside.rangers@dundeecity.gov.uk

 

Devilla Forest Dragonfly Hotspot

Devilla Forest is located a short distance to the east of Kincardine in Fife and is owned and managed by the Forestry Commission. There are a number of ponds and lochs throughout the site but one of the best locations for easy dragonfly spotting is at Bordie Loch, on the Red Squirrel Trail.

Key Species: Four-spotted Chaser

The Site:  Made up of mainly Scots pine, this is primarily a woodland site with a heather and blaeberry understorey. There are four lochs found throughout Devilla Forest – Bordie Loch, Keir Dam, Moor Loch and Peppermill Dam. Access throughout the site is easy with wide, surfaced tracks. Getting off the beaten track on smaller desire-lines is easy too.

Getting there: The car park is one mile east of Kincardine on the A985 between Dunfermline and Kincardine at grid reference NS964870. It is well signposted from the road. FK10 4AS is the nearest postcode. The X27 bus runs between Dunfermline and Kincardine and past the entrance to Devilla; more details from Fife Stagecoach on 01592 642394.

When to visit: The earliest emerging species should be found from mid to late April onwards. The Four-spotted Chasers can be seen on the wing along the north edge of Bordie Loch throughout June and July. Later in the summer Black Darters and Common Hawkers can be seen flying around the loch and adjoining heathland.

Also good for: This is one of the best spots in the area to see Red squirrels. The lochs are a haven for wildfowl and Great-crested grebes can be seen displaying in the spring. Otters also visit the lochs and Daubentons bats hunt over the water.

Other dragonfly species found here include Common Darter, Black Darter, Common Hawker,  Large Red Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly.

More information can be found on the Forestry Commission website: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/visit/devilla

 

 

All photos by BDS Scotland Officer Daniele Muir. If you have any questions about the hotspots, please contact Daniele at scotland@british-dragonflies.org.uk