Sightings - Early 2001

This page contains Sightings sent to the BDS between January and June 2001. You can also go to theĀ Sightings for July to December 2001.

30th June Hampshire AT
BDS field trip to New Forest led by Peter Allen. The walk produced all the target species with a
total of 11 species. The best three were; 6 scarce
blue tailed which were netted and examined carefully,
11 small red damselflies and over 20 southern
damselflies. We managed to catch the scarce blue
tailed and small reds, and got very close to southern
damselflies (it is illegal to; net, trap or kill
southern damselflies without a permit).
We also found 5 keeled skimmers (which are my
first of the year), a male black tailed skimmer, 2
male common blues, 8 common blue tails, 10 azure
damselflies, 18 beautiful demoiselles, 23 large reds
and 6 golden ringed dragonflies.

8th-27th June Cumbria CH
Five emperor exuviae found on the 8th, 12th, 20th and 27th of June at a
reserve near Windermere and two males seen patrolling around pond. I
would be interested to know if this species has been recorded as
breeding anywhere else in Cumbria. Also present at site approx 30
darter exuviae, many of which still had tenerals attached.

27th June Wiltshire DH
We have a tiny (9 sq. metres) pond in our garden in Salisbury, Wilts. Over the past week 15 Emperors have emerged (the children have been collecting the empty skins left behind on the flag irises). We watched 3 of them emerge and monitored the process with interest. One of the 3 we watched occurred during the morning, the others were at night. It seems most of them emerged in the dark because we have found new "empties" each morning that weren't there the previous evening. It took about 2 hours for each of the 3 nymphs we watched to crawl up its iris, for the adult to emerge and then expand before flying off.

The bumper "crop" coincides with an unprecedented profusion of tadpoles this year. In February the pond was visited by a very large number of frogs who left behind masses of spawn - it clogged the tiny pond and hatched out thousands of tadpoles. I guess the dragonfly nymphs have feasted well on the tadpoles!

Last summer I noticed one Emperor laying her eggs in the pond so I guess it is likely that the 15 or so that have flown off this year are all brothers and sisters.

21st June Northants DS
Moulton Park, Thursday 21 June 2001, Large Red, Blue Tailed, Common Blue Damselfly and first local Emperor of the season, mixing it with a territorial male Broad-bodied Chaser.

21st June Suffolk IH
Minsmere RSPB Reserve. Of interest may be that Variable damselfly is plentiful this year - visitors can see them along the banks of The New Cut.

19th June Norfolk DS
Strumpshaw Fen, Tuesday 19 June 2001, Large Red, Blue Tailed, Azure Damselfly, with Banded Demoiselle on the River Yare. Curiously no Common Blue Damselfly were seen at this locality. At least 3 Norfolk Hawker, Hairy Hawker, Four Spotted Chaser and Black Tailed Skimmer. When the sun was out all the species were easy to view. The Swallowtail butterfly were evident, as were Hobby, Marsh Harrier and Cetti's Warbler. Lowlights of the visit were a Hobby taking a largish dragonfly and a Reed Warbler catching a Blue Tailed damselfly.

13th June Northants DS
Due to the good weather yesterday, I bunked off work and visited Moulton Park and Summer Leys LNR.

Moulton Park was quiet to start off with, a few Common Blue, Azure and Blue Tailed Damselflies hunting around the ponds. There are still a few Large Red Damselflies about as well. When the sun had been out for about half an hour, 4 Broad-bodied Chasers turned up, 3 females and one male. The male mated with two of the females, possibly all three, and one started ovipositing.

Summer Leys was buzzing with activity near to the pond dipping platform, mainly due to male Four Spotted Chasers protecting their territories. There were Common Blue and Red Eyed Damselflies in tandem and numerous single Common Blue, Azure, Red Eyed and Blue Tailed Damselflies. The local dyke system had Banded Demoiselle, Blue Tailed and the odd Large Red Damselfly, with Hairy Dragonfly patrolling in and out of the reeds along the dyke, as described in the field guide. On returning to the pond dipping platform, 3 Hairy Dragonfly were seen hunting amongst the reeds and having dog fights with the male Four Spotted Chasers when they entered into the guarded territory of about 2 metres radius.

10th June Devon DS
14 species on the wing at Little Bradley (new) PondL (Bovey Tracey) today,
including at least 3 Downy Emeralds, 5 Keeled Skimmers, Black-tailed Skimmer,
Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Red-eyed Damselfly
(rare here) and newly-emerged
Common Darter and Emerald Damselfly. Also recent reports of ovipositing
Hairy Dragonfly and up to 6 Downy Emeralds. At Bystock Reservoir, near
Exmouth, Downy Emerald (up to 5 recently) and 3 Hairy Dragonflies, including
one ovipositing into dead wood, but no sign (yet) of Small Red Damselflies at
nearby pools.

8th June Staffs DP
Today I walked around Womere on Cannock Chase. No adult dragonflies, were seen, but I did find exuviae of the following:

Large red damselfly (very numerous)
Emperor Dragonfly (7 found)
Common Hawker (1 found)
Southern Hawker (1 found)
4-spot Chaser (10 found)

One of the Emperors and one of the 4-spots were failed emergences, presumably caused by the recent inclement weather.

5th June Suffolk SG
An excellent day on Tuesday, 5/6, with both L. fulva & P. pennipes at two sites on the Suffolk Stour.
5 imm L. fulva & 200 or so P. pennipes on path from TL 934. 333.
18 imm L. fulva in 25 mins walk from path at TL 915. 335. Also hundred's of P. pennipes, C. splendens and 3 male O. cancellatum as well as commoner damselflies.

4th June Hampshire CW
4th June: Had a quick look at Vales Moor, near Burley in the New Forest
but the signs say 'Keep To Main Tracks' still. One female Keeled Skimmer
out hunting in the heather, and many Large Reds.

4th June Surrey/Hampshire D&JD
Yesterday the 4th June, we were at Eelmoor Flash.
Very open now that M.O.D.Conservation have removed the trees and
However it yielded Depressa, Quad, Brachytron, Cordulia and Metallica(first
of the season).
Strangely there was no Anax patrolling the site.

20-31st May Devon DS
Recent Devon Odonata sightings:

20 May 2001 - Stover CP, Devon (BDS Devon Group Field Meeting) Dave
Excellent day, with several territorial Hairy Dragonflies (and one exuvia
found). Also a few Red-eyed Damselflies, plus commoner species.

30 May 2001 - Countess Wear, Devon (Exeter Canal and adjacent ditch) Dave
Smallshire plus MAFF colleagues, taking a well-earned lunchtime break off
Foot and Mouth duties!
One or two male Hairy Dragonflies, two White-legged Damselflies and small
numbers of Red-eyed Damselflies, Banded Demoiselle etc.

31 May 2001 - reports from Jason Mitchell, RSPB
Downy Emerald at Bystock DWT Reserve, Devon.
First Southern Damselflies out at Aylesbeare RSPB Reserve (also Hairy

30th May Suffolk JW
A walk around the Minsmere RSPB Reserve in Suffolk produced several Hairy Dragonfly, Four-spot Chaser and Common Blue, Azure and Large Red Damselflies. Single Black-tailed Skimmer and Broad-bodied Chaser were also noted.

30th May Northants DS
Lunchtime today at Moulton Park, there were reasonable numbers of Large Red, Blue Tailed, Azure and Common Blue Damselflies and the first local Broad-bodied Chaser of the season, a mature male chugging around the pond like a B17.

29th May Cornwall LT
in East Cornwall, I had only managed to find P. nymphula and E. cyathigerum
until yesterday when I added I. elegans, C. puella, O. cancellatum and A.
. Ironically in a slow year, this was my earliest-ever imperator
(29/5). Another strange occurrence was that of many hundreds of blue
damselflies at Bake Lakes, they all seemed to be E. cyathigerum. I also seem
to have missed Libellula so far, when others have been seeing depressa and

28th May Bucks GHM
A warm bank holiday Monday tempted me out to Stony Stratford nature reserve. The ground was surprisingly waterlogged given the dry weather over the last week or so. I saw hundreds of Azure Damselflies including pairs mating and ovipositing. Also seen in good numbers were Blue-tailed and Red-eyed Damselflies. There were lesser numbers (about a dozen) Large Red Damselflies, a few Four-spotted Chasers and three Hairy Dragonflies, 2 male and one female.
A walk down to the nearby River Great Ouse helped me to add my first Banded Demoiselles of the season. Both male and female were found in reasonable numbers. All the previous mentioned damselflies were also found on the river but, as yet, no White-legged.

28th May Salop WMF
On May 28 I visited a site on the Severn at Atcham near Shrewsbury and saw at least 15 Club-tailed maidening. There is also another site near by at Berrington Pool famous for Downy Emerald which I also visited but because of the very wet winter it was impossible to get on for the very high level of the water. I thought I would mention it as many people visit both sites as a day out.

28th May Essex TC
A two hour visit to Wake Valley Pond Epping Forest, Essex, late this afternoon yielded some good early season sightings of the following-
6 Downy Emerald,
3 Hairy Dragonfly,
1 Four Spotted Chaser,
Numerous Damselflies including
Large Red,
Blue Tailed,
Common Blue.
Several clashes were seen between Downy Emerald Males & the Four Spotted Chaser & HairyDF when they encroached territories. Most activity was seen at the car park end of the pond, near the reeds.

27th May Cheshire PMH
Dave Kitching and I together with our respective families spent a very
worthwhile morning on the River Dee on Sunday, finding over 100 exuvia of
Club-tailed Dragonfly in a 1 km stretch.

A picture of the exuvia can be found on the Cheshire Dragonfly Web Site (run
by Dave) at

26-27th May Oxfordshire H&LC
On Saturday and Sunday 26th and 27th May we visited the famous site at Goring railway bridge, on the River Thames (reached from Goring village these days, rather than the quick route along the field, due to Foot & Mouth restrictions). There were only two G. vulgatissimus exuviae at the bridge, but at the nearby small beaches we collected about 80 exuviae, and filmed emergent males and females on a cool and breezy Sunday morning. Larvae were seen walking about a metre up the beach and into the grass before emerging. Many ants were present but only one newly emerged individual succumbed. Also present were fair numbers of Banded demoiselle and a few Large Red damselflies.

26th May Ireland PJD
Prompted by the good weather during the week I made a visit to a fen in
County Kildare (Ireland) on Saturday morning (26/5). It was close and warm
with hazy sunshine. There were many Four Spotted Chasers and Black Tailed
present and out of the half a dozen or so Hairy Hawkers also seen. I
managed to net both a male and female for close inspection. Also present in
good numbers were four species of damsel - Common Blue, Large Red, Blue
and Variable Damselfly.

26th May Cambridgeshire GHM
We took advantage of a lovely, warm, sunny day to visit Wicken Fen. We found seven species of Odonata including good numbers of Hairy Dragonfly (seen mating) and Four-spot Chasers. The remaining species were all damselflies. Large Red, Blue-tailed and Red-eyed were present in good numbers. We also found both Azure and Variable Damselflies, both of which were observed mating and ovispositing.

26th May N. Ireland IR
After some searching I managed to find a single teneral female Banded Damselfly Calopteryx splendens on the River Bann at Dynes Bridge near Portadown, Co. Armagh. Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense was unusually abundant at Brackagh Bog NNR (J0251); up to 3 or 4 mating pairs, 1 or 2 ovipositing females and probably 4 males were seen altogether, mostly around the area of large pools. A fair number of Coenagrion species were seen, with both Azure and Variable identified, with a few Large Red Damselflies and Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies seen. Despite very warm and mainly bright weather, no Irish Damselflies were seen despite plenty of searching with binoculars.

25th May Berkshire AT
Today at Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire there was 2 male and one immature red eyed damselfly and a downy emerald.

23rd May Hampshire P&ML
I spent an enjoyable afternoon at Titchfield Haven NR in Hants. Five species on the wing: lots of Azure and Large Red Damselflies, 4 Blue-tailed Damselflies, 1 Four-spotted Chaser, and best of all, 6 Hairy Dragonflies all showing very well. Birdwise a cracking male Garganey also showed well.

23rd May Bucks GHM
A lunchtime visit on a warm sunny day to my favourite site, Howe Park Wood ponds. I found over a hundred Large Red Damselflies including mating and ovipositing pairs. There were also some Blue-tailed, and Azure Damselflies and a few Four-spot Chasers.

21st-22nd May N. Ireland IR
On 21st May I saw about 12 Irish Damselflies Coenagrion lunulatum at Montiaghs Bog NNR (J0965) near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. Of these there was one mating pair, 1 immature male, 1 probable female and the rest mature males. At the same place and time I also saw a female Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense, which was caught (and later released) and found to have rather a deep brown colour on the wings (I took some Video footage). Also seen were at least 2, but probably more, Variable Damselflies Coenagrion pulchellum, with some Large Red Damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula and many Four-spotted Chasers Libellula quadrimaculata, some teneral and others fairly mature.

On 22nd May probably the same female B. pratense was seen in the same spot at Montiaghs Bog, while another male Irish damselfly was seen; at Drumnahavil Bog near Keady, Co. Armagh/Monaghan (H8128), a pair of Brachytron pratense was seen coupled together in flight on the Co. Monaghan side, this I understand perhaps being the first confirmed record for the county (it has been recorded in all other Irish counties). On the Co. Monaghan side about 5 male Irish Damselflies were seen with a probable mating pair, while a male was seen on the Co. Armagh side (this site is known as a good haunt for the Irish Damselfly but I think this is the first time it has been seen on the Monaghan side, though there are several other sites for it in Co. Monaghan). Also seen on the Co. Monaghan side was a single Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans, the first one I have seen this year.

On 21st May I failed to find any Irish Damselflies or Hairy Dragonflies at Brackagh Bog NNR, Co. Armagh (J0251), but identified a male Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella. The Common Blue damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum was seen in dozens at Craigavon Lakes (J0457) on both 21st and 22nd May. Disappointingly in view of the good weather and covering a longish stretch of river, no Banded Demoiselles were seen at Dynes Bridge on the River Bann south of Portadown on 21st May, though I understand it has been seen since 8th May at Peterborough in Cambridgeshire in England; however I do not think it has been recorded this early in Northern Ireland though often seen in the last few days of May.

22nd May Cheshire DK
Nine species on the wing in Cheshire now, including Downy Emerald and
Variable Damselfly.

21st May Surrey/Hampshire D&JD
Downy Emerald on the Ash Embankment this afternoon.

19th May W. Sussex AT
At pagham harbour (west sussex) there were a male and a female broad bodied chaser, 12 azure damselflies, a large red and a blue tailed damselfly.

19th May Surrey/Hampshire D&JD
Brachytron pratense
Our Canal version is usually quite happy to emerge on the same species of
green reed, each year.
the only difference being the height over water ,which varies from 4 inches
to 18 inches depending on the amount of wind blowing across the Ash
Today, after a couple of days of high winds,we were on the Embankment and
collected up 4 Brachytron exuvia (3m plus 1 f) but this time they were
securely fixed to the much more stable Yellow Iris leaves!
It would appear that having made the decision to emerge they are exercising
choice in the most stable piece of vegetation for the emergence.

18th May Berkshire CW
Beautiful Demoiselle: 5 male, 5 female immature virgo
today on nettles/brambles beside the Clayhill Brook at Burghfield,
South West of Reading. No Banded Dem there yet, but one
female on the Holy Brook to the East, at Southcote.

[ I looked for Downy Emerald at the lakes between Burghfield and
Tadley, but no luck]

16th May Cheshire PMH
I found exuvia of Emperor at a site in Cheshire, also present Azure Damsel, incl. a pair in cop and a few Large Red. Previous day a teneral Four-spotted Chaser emerged. Once again looking for exuvia can produce useful records. The Emperor exuvia constituted the earliest ever dates in Cheshire.

15th May Berkshire CW
15th May. Reading's Thames Valley Park: Azure - 40+, Blue-tailed - 40+, Large Red - 3, Common Blue - none, Four-spotted - 2, Red-eyed - 3 females. No males seen on the water. Tadpoles: astronomical numbers!
Reading again, Foudry Brook: Large Red and Azure - dozens.

14th May Cumbria CLH
I'm undertaking a Downy emerald study as part of my masters course and observed 2 downy emeralds (male and female) yesterday (14/5/01) on a reserve in Cumbria near Windermere. They had just emerged and were still clinging to their exuviae when spotted. I was wondering if this was one of the first sightings of this species this year?

13th May Bucks GHM
Milton Keynes Parks Trust Pond Day at Blue Lagoon. Warm and sunny until late afternoon when it became thundery. 10 Large Red Damselflies, 5 Blue-tailed, 1 male Azure, 2 Hairy Dragonflies and a Four-spotted Chaser. At last things have really started!

12th-13th May Kent J
12th May 2001 - Westbere, Kent: Large Red Damselfly - 1 male; Hairy Dragonfly - 2 males, 2 females; Blue-tailed Damselfly - 10+; Azure Damselfly - 100's.
13th May 2001 - Stodmarsh, Kent: Large Red Damselfly - 2 males; Hairy Dragonfly - 1 male, 1 female; Blue-tailed Damselfly - 20+; Azure Damselfly - 100's; Common Blue Damselfly - 20+; Variable Damselfly - 100's.

11th-13th May Surrey/Hampshire D&JD
Greetings. There is some activity as the temperature rises!
Friday [11th] Clare and Jean had Large Red on the Ash Embankment (Surrey section). Down in Lakeside they had Large Red, Azure and Bluetail.
Saturday [12th] Clare and Jean went to Eversley Gravel Pits (now known as MoorGreen Lakes). There they had Large Red and the first Banded Agrion of the season.
Sunday [13th] Jean and I went back to Great Bottom Flash on the Basingstoke Canal where we collected 5 Brachytron Exuvia - 3 male and 2 female, from just North of the Boathouse. Also a couple of Large Reds were seen. However no sign of Exuvia on the usual reed-beds in the Ash Common section.

13th May W. Yorks JW
After a couple of weeks of fruitless searching finally found my first dragonflies of the year with 5 Large Red Damselflies and two Blue-tailed Damselflies along the Johnny Brown's Common and Mutton Flats sections of the SESKU Ringway.

12th May Berkshire AT
Today at Moor Green I saw 6 common blues, 12 large reds and 2 banded demoiselles.

8th May Berkshire MR
I have Banded Demoiselles emerging today in the River Pang in Berks. Also the odd Large Red Damselfly. I am the warden of Moor Copse Nature Reserve - still closed to public, I am afraid.

29th April Cambridgeshire SD
First Large Red Damsels on the wing in Peterborough at Ferry

29th April Berkshire CW
Large Reds: I saw a couple today in Reading, just below where the foaming waters of the sewage works outfall join the Foundry brook. They were on nettles, which seem to be a favourite. Dinton Pastures and Reading's Thames Valley Park are open to access now, both good sites, though I did see a dead sheep in the Thames the other day!

11th April Surrey/Hampshire D&JD
Put a teneral Large Red off the Heather at Pyestock tanks, Farnborough, this afternoon. Was not expecting it as the weather had closed in and we had aborted going to Lakeside, Ash, Surrey for a more normal site for early Large Reds.