Sightings - Early 2004

This page contains Sightings sent to the BDS between January and June 2004. You can also go to theĀ Sightings for July to December 2004.

27th June Cambs. MP/SP
Dragonfly Project at Wicken Fen 27/06/2004 (species sighted)
Emperor, Hairy, Ruddy Darter, 4 Spotted Chaser, Blue tailed damselfly, Azure damselfly, Common blue damselfly, Red eyed damselfly, Large red damselfly, Common Darter (failed emergence), Black-tailed Skimmer, Southern Hawker (five emergence, four excuvia collected)

27th June W. Sussex JH
A number of species were noted on my local patch near Crawley, West Sussex on 27th June. On the semi-ornamental lake at Bewbush Water-garden there was a male brilliant emerald and a male white-legged damselfly both 'firsts' for this site close to Ifield Mill Pond. There were also numbers of azure and blue-tailed damselflies, large red damselfly, a few red-eyed damselflies and a female emperor.
At the nearby Gasson Wood, some contractors have bulldozed a sizeable area of flooded woodland and excavated what appears to be a small pond in the muddy clearing. Here, a male and female broad-bodied chaser were already making good use of the newly created habitat!

23rd June Devon DSm
Stover Country Park, Devon, 12 June Dave Smallshire
Twenty BDS members kicked off Dragonfly Week here. A lack of persistent sun denied us views of Downy Emerald and Hairy Dragonfly, but we had good views of Red-eyed Damselflies, Emperors, Broad-bodied and Four-spotted Chasers and an early Emerald Damselfly, as well as the more usual damselflies. A Southern Hawker was found emerging, following quite a few in the preceding week, and two praenubila Four-spotted Chasers were among three pre-flight tenerals also discovered.

Countess Wear, Exeter, Devon, 13 June Dave Smallshire
Red-eyed were among the commoner damselflies along the canal, with one or two Hairy Dragonflies. A male and ovipositing female of the latter were along the Alphin Brook, the first indication of breeding here by this species. Also here were White-legged Damselflies and Banded Demoiselles, with Black-tailed Skimmer nearby.

Colaton Raleigh Common, Devon, 13 June per Dave Smallshire
A count of 85 Southern Damselflies by Pete Gotham on the transect route was the best since systematic counts began in 1991.

Grand Western Canal, Halberton, Devon, 19 June Dave Smallshire
Following up a report of the first Red-eyed Damselfly for the canal east of Greenaway Bridge on 14 June, I found about 20, including four pairs in tandem, on Fringed Water-lilies west of the bridge. This is the only known site between Exeter and the Somerset Levels.

Little Bradley Pond, Bovey Tracy, Devon, 20 June Dave Smallshire
A recently emerged Keeled Skimmer was the only notable sighting in rather disappointing weather at the end of Dragonfly Week.

23rd June Glos. IT
Thought you might like to know that we now have L. fulva in Glos, thanks to Mike Averill who was checking out the Worcs. site. It has been found all along the R. Avon down as far as Tewkesbury. It has also been seen by ourselves and Martin Matthews who lives near Tewkesbury and who phoned me up on 18th June.

20th June Berks. DMcE
A male Keeled Skimmer (Orethrum Coerulescens) at Snelsmore Common, just north of Newbury, Berks this Sunday, 20th June 2004. The weather wasn't ideal for Odonata with cloudy skies, a constant cool breeze and frequent light showers. However, I still had quite high hopes as this was the first time I'd visited the site. Snelsmore Common is one of the few remaining areas of dry heath in Berkshire, with stands of deciduous woodland and a few mires of standing water/sphagnum moss. As well as the moss, the mires provided homes for more unusual plants like bog asphodel, cotton grass, heath-spotted orchid, southern marsh orchid, common spotted orchid and round-leaved sundew. There was one particular orchid that was in full flower, and with permission I squelched away from our group (this was an organised walk led by West Berks Countryside Service) to take a closer look. I took considerable care where I was putting my feet - as much to stop myself sinking too far as to avoid any unusual plants - and it was just as well that I did so, as it was quite by chance that I came across the Skimmer resting low down on a patch of reeds, just above the sphagnum and about a foot from the orchid.
The insect was extremely docile - almost torpid - possible due to its being chilled by a heavy shower that fell just a few minutes before we arrived at the mire. Whatever, the reason, it was nice to have the opportunity to study such the Skimmer at such length, and at extreme close quarters - especially as this was the first time I'd personally seen the species in Berkshire. We studied and photographed the dragonfly for some 15 minutes before the clouds parted, the temperature started to rise, and the dragonfly finally started to move rather sluggishly up the reeds.
The Keeled Skimmer was fully mature, but the wings looked a little ragged for such an early date. That said, the dragonfly had just got caught in a shower - and there were all those sundews to try and avoid!

18-20th June Essex TC
18th June, River Chelmer/Blackwater, Nr Langford, Essex.
Three Male Scarce Chasers, flying around dense vegetation,near lock, between River Chelmer & Blackwater. Also discovered a beautiful orange Female/immature specimen in bankside vegetation about half a mile down the Chelmer, Chelmsford bound.
20th June, Roman river valley, Layer De La Haye, Colchester.
It was dull & overcast this morning, & hardly anything flying. Did however find one Broad Bodied Chaser, One immature Black tailed Skimmer, several Beautiful Demoiselles, & Banded Demoiselles in the vegetation, enabling me to take lots of photographs.
20th June, Dyke Pond, Abberton Reservoir, Layer, Colchester.PM
The tall vegetation of Willow herb & nettles around Dyke pond was alive with what seemed hundreds of immature amber coloured Ruddy Darters.They must of all emerged that morning or the day before.

20th June Lancs. MP
Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum spotted sunbathing on gravel path beside small pond near the Lilian Hide at RSPB Leighton Moss, Silverdale, Lancashire, 20/6/04, single male, no evidence of breeding, this is the first time the Black-tailed Skimmer has been recorded at this site (record today at 1.38pm by myself).
RSPB staff very excited and will be trying to locate it again this week.
For the record and to the best of my knowledge the nearest recording breeding site for the Black-tailed Skimmer at I know about appears to be Mere Sands nr Ormskirk, Lancashire, some 40 miles South (recorded by Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society - in 1999).
I was wondering if anyone else had seen the Black Tail Skimmer so far North?

18th June W. Berks. DMcE
The northern side of Searles' Lane (a network of flooded
gravel pits just south of the Kennet and Avon Canal at Burghfield). The day was extremely hot and still and was perfect for Odonata. Banded Demoiselles were extremely prolific all along the Kennet and Avon canal, either flying out over the water or resting on bankside vegetation. I couldn't find any Beautiful Demoiselles along this stretch of water, although there has been a steady spread of Beautiful Demoiselles eastwards along the Kennet and Avon over the last few years. Common Blues were also abundant and extremely mobile, with smaller numbers of Blue-Tailed Damselflies, Red-Eyed Damselflies though densities of both increased as we moved further east towards the barge marina at Southcote and then on the spur footpath leading into the Searles Lane complex. Just a single Large Red Damselfly was present.
We seemed to walk for ages searching through the clouds of Common Blues for any sign of the Variables. Initially we had no success, but there was one unexpected bonus in the shape of two unmistakable male White-Legged Damselflies. I believe that this species were reported from Searles Lane last year but, despite several visits, I never saw them in 2003. It was nice to set the record straight this year.
A little further down the path, we managed to positively identify a small cluster of Variable Damselflies in their usual site about 400 yards down the path, between the Kennet and Avon and the gravel pit complex. Whilst not in the numbers reported by "CW" on 7th May, it was nice to know that the colony was still going strong. Seven Variable Damselflies were viewed with binoculars as they were some distance from the bank, either basking on reeds or flying over the water, but there were a further two male damselflies settled by our feet that did allow close approach. There was one last bonus as we made our way back to the Cunning Man pub and some well-earned refreshment. A sudden flash of metallic bronze as a large hawker dragonfly rose from a bramble bush alongside the towpath confirmed our first Brown Hawker (Aeshna Grandis) of the year.

15th June Cheshire RMcH
An Env. Agency Biodiversity team building day looking at Dragonflies and their habitat coincided with Dragonfly week. On the 15th June the biodiversity team covering Cheshire and Greater Manchester took a trip to Cramer Gutter, and Berrington Pool, Shropshire. With Tim B, Caroline and Dave Kitching's expertise it wasn't long before we spotted a Broad bodied Chaser and several Keeled Skimmer, although Golden Ringed Dragonfly were proving more elusive. Large Red and Azure damsels were also spotted in low numbers. As we had just about given up hope for boltonii, a few were spotted as we were leaving Cramer Gutter and a male posed for Dave and I (see Cheshire Dragonfly website for piccy's). Then lunch and onto Berrington where several more species were seen incl; Black Tailed Skimmer, Emperor, Red eyed Damsefly, Four spot chaser, Large Red, Azure and Common Blue damsels. Also Banded Demoiselle and Blue tailed Damsel all species in high density and abundance with aerial acrobatics wherever you looked. Unfortunately we left early and Dave then spotted White legged Damsel, Variable and Downy Emerald to add to the list. A brilliant day regardless.

16th June Northants MT
White-legged Damselflies were oviposting in their hundreds down the River Ise at lunchtime. To see them grouped together on floating plant material, with the males in the sentinel position is quite amazing. All around the oviposting pairs, were tandem pairs waiting their turn. Banded Demoiselles were also present, although the White-legs must have outnumbered them by 4 to 1. Three male Emperors were also seen hawking along the river, and one attempted cop with a female in an adjacent meadow.

13th June Lancs. PM
For the second year running, male and female Broad-bodied Chaser at Heysham Nature Reserve pond with a further male at Middleton Industrial Estate (from 13th). I think this is the most northerly site with more than one year of records on the western side.
The first record of Banded Demoiselle on the River Keer (the Carnforth river that produces the notorious quicksands where the cocklers drowned) last week (per Linda Renshaw).
Tantalising glimpse of a darter spp. on the RVD pond at Middleton on Sunday (13th) but we have been generally too windy up here over the last week or so for that particular site.

15th June Glos. MJJ
Tuesday 15th June Brockworth Gloucester. A very busy day on on the pond. 20 plus pairs of Large red damsels ovipositing and similar numbers of Azure Damsels too. Around 30 Blue tailed damsels but only a few paired off.
One end of the pond featured a pair of Broad Bodied Chasers mating on the wing. Never settled for a moment alas so I still don't have that elusive picture for this species. A second male arrived shortly afterwards and some spectacular dogfights resulted from the first male's defence of his ovipositing partner.
At the other end of the pond a (female) Four Spotted chaser made regular forays out over the water from a pondside perch. L. quadrimaculata is the only one of our commonly recorded species not yet breeding on the pond.
So far this season the recorded species are: ANISOPTERA; Broad Bodied Chaser, Four Spotted Chaser, Emperor; ZYGOPTERA; Azure Damsel, Large Red Damsel, Blue Tailed Damsel. Next to appear should be the Black Tailed Skimmers. First emergance last year was June 16th, so they are due any day.

12th June Highlands AGP
12 June 04 visit to the Butterfly Reserve at Allt Mhuic, beside Loch Arkaig. Excellent views of approx 20
Azure Hawkers along the forestry road halfway up the reserve. Also Numbers of Four Spots, Large Red Damselflies & one Keeled Skimmer (F). Also of course Chequered Skippers & Sm. Pearl Bordered Frits.

15th June Norfolk AB
Whitlingham Country Park near Norwich has a great broad created from a flooded gravel pit. This is the second year of its existence and, due in part to it having few fish in it, it has an abundence of dragonflies.
Monday 15th saw large number of common and azure blues (approx 1,000 in total), a few blue tailed and a solitary large red damselfly. Emperor were abundent, with every possible territory patrolled around the shore - amusingly they were being hasseled by the banded demoiselles - I saw a male emperor chased off by a banded on two seperate occassions. Black tailed skimmers (10+), broad bodied and 4 spotted chasers (2 of each) completed the totals for the day. I managed to get an excellent photo of a rather battered female black tailed who seemed to be on her last legs - allowing me to get the camera to within three inches of her. Large portions of her rear wings were gone, which probably explained her slow flight.
Previous visits have also revealed Hairy dragonflies but they haven't been seen since the emperors emerged. I also suspect there may be red eyed damselflies but tantalising glimpses have never been resolved into a positive id - but since they're present on the river within a quarter mile it can only be a matter of time before they arrive.
Any visitors should also pop into the picnic meadow opposite the broad as it has an abundence of bee orchids together with many uncommon meadow flowers. (and the odd 4 spot zooming over).

16th June Co. Durham HTE
A specimen of Lesser Emperor appeared at a pond near Sunderland, Co Durham, last week. It was seen by a Mr. Davis Foster, the site was later visited by Mr. Mike Hunter who also saw the specimen and verified it's identity. The precise locality of the pond is being kept secret for the moment but full data will be forthcoming later in the season. We had enough problems in the area with twitchers the year before last when a pair of Bee Eaters appeared and bred in a quarry. We really don't want this to happen here. I will keep you informed.

13th June E&W. Sussex TJW
East Sussex: At Chelwood Common on Ashdown Forest 1 Brilliant Emerald and 10 Downy Emeralds showing the differences in behaviour with Downies keeping low and hovering and the Brilliant doing the opposite. Also a Brilliant Emerald at the Garden of Eden near Camp Hill on Ashdown.
West Sussex: Three Club-tailed Dragonflies showing well from the bridge at Fittleworth near Pulborough. Also two Scarce Chasers + a few White-legged Damselflies and Banded Demoiselles. Nearby, at Burton Mill Pond 3 Black-tailed Skimmers and many Variable Damselflies and Red-eyed Damselflies. 10 Four-spotted Chasers down the road at Black Hole.

13th June S. Yorks. AH
I am not very well up on dragonflies but managed to see two male broad-bodied chasers in the Moss Valley, Sheffield, S.Yorks on 13th June.

12th-13th June Norfolk/Essex TC
12th June, Catfield reserve (Fenside), Norfolk.
Just as I entered the reserve, the Dyke to the left had quite a bit of floating lily pads. I was suprised to count about a dozen Small Red Eyed Damselflies on them. Their size was an instant give away, after seeing the Red Eyed Damselfly on several occasions over the past couple of weeks. This seems early? Last year my sightings of Small Red Eyed in Essex were in july & August. Good views of Norfolk Hawker, Hairy, & Black tailed Skimmers were found on the reserve. Also this site was very good for excellent views of the Swallowtail butterfly, an exciting first for me.
13th June, Roman river valley, Layer De La Haye, Essex.
Checked this site out this morning, & found both the Beautiful & Banded Demoiselles flying around this small river. They were most abundant on a wider section with a small bend by the foot bridge. The ratio of Banded to Beautiful was probably in the region of 6 to 1. I found an unsually coloured Beautiful Demoiselle which i was able to photograph. It had female coloured bronze wings & male coloured blue body. I believe this is the male immature colouration.

13th June Worcs. MA
A new (27th ) species of Dragonfly (Libellula fulva The scarce Chaser) has been confirmed as breeding in the County. It looks like being a new 100 Km record too. It has been found on the River Avon between Eckington Bridge and Pershore.

12th June Cumbria LS
Two very early records (for north Cumbria!) at Watchtree Nature Reserve, Great Orton, Cumbria. One fairly mature male Lestes sponsa and one teneral Sympetrum striolatum seen today (12/06/2004).

7th-9th June Essex & Suffolk RG
Essex, 7th June: Pound Wood: A single Emperor Dragonfly - the first record for several years, Broad-bodied Chaser, numerous Azure Damselfly, many Large Red Damselfly and at least five Common Blues. Also on the 6th - first record for the reserve of Blue-tailed Damselfly.

Suffolk, 9th June: Hazelwood Marshes: Three Hairy Dragonfly, several Four-spotted Chaser, a single male Broad-bodied Chaser, plus numerous Large Red, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselfly.
Darsham Marshes: Emperor Dragonfly seemingly along every dyke, Hairy Dragonfly, one male Scarce Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, one female Black-tailed Skimmer, a few Common Blue Damselfly and abundant Azure, Large Red and Blue-tailed Damselfly.
Marshland west of the Minsmere level near Eastbridge: Brown Hawker, several Four-spotted Chaser, a female Broad-bodied Chaser, a few Banded Demoiselle, a single Red-eyed Damselfly (expecting more), plus many azure and Blue-tailed Damselfly.

10th June Northants. MT
I visited Wilson's Pits Reserve for the first time since mid May in the hope of finding Black-tailed Skimmers - this is a good site for them. My first sighting, from a distance, appeared to be a mature male with blue pruinescence, hovering around a small pool. This turned out to be a Broad-bodied Chaser, a first for the site. I did locate Black-tailed Skimmers, but only 1, resting in the grasses close to a female Brown Hawker, who promptly flew off weakly not to be seen again. I also saw several Four-spotted Chasers, ovipositing Azure Damselflies, Red-eyed and Blue-tailed and an injured immature Emperor, with a mangled wing. No Hairys were evident although there is a healthy population at this site.

5th-8th June Essex (& Oxon.) RoyW
5th June. River Chelmer at Langford (near Maldon), Essex. One, possibly two male Scarce Chasers, other odonata included Hairy Dragonflies, White-legged Damsels + a pair of Black-tailed Skimmers 'in cop', the male still immature and lacking any sign of the blue prunesence.
6th June. Several species of dragonfly feeding on Sunshine Plain, Epping Forest in the evening, including a female Southern Hawker.
7th June. Mature Club-tailed Dragonflies near the railway bridge at Goring and south of Henly (Oxon), one was seen 'sky pointing' due to the heat. Also a few White-legged and lots of Red-eyed Damsels at both sites.
8th June. Lots of dragonfly activity at Cornmill Meadows during the morning although it seemed to become too hot for many species in the middle of the day. Many damselflies (with the exception of Red-eyed) were less obvious at this time, and most of the larger dragonflies disappeared - I saw two different Hairy Dragonflies fly into bushes providing dense shelter, and a male Emperor gave up patrolling its chosen length of river to rest in bankside vegetation. A single newly emerged Ruddy Darter seen near the small ponds at the northern end of the site was my earliest record by about three weeks.

10th June Cumbria DC
Showing distinct signs of an 'early season', for some species at least. Common Hawkers and Southern Hawkers have both started emerging near Carlisle - one of the latter at my garden pond today (10th June) was three weeks ahead of last year. Banded Demoiselles may be 'on the wander', with one seen - and photographed - in an upland area over 10km from occupied breeding areas on the lower River Eden.

9th June Northants. MT
I visited Whitestones ponds at Twywell Hills & Dales and, despite windy overcast conditions (22 degree though!), was witness to a female Broad-bodied Chaser oviposting into the main pond. A male was circling her, presumably guarding his mate. After a few minutes, he pounced and they formed cop after a tussle. This lasted a few seconds, after which the female returned to oviposting. A second male approached and the two males performed the most incredible acts of acrobatics, with the territorial male chasing close behind his rival. I could barely keep up with their speed of manoeuvres! During all of this a male Hairy Dragonfly was nonchalantly patrolling low among the rushes, and a female Four-spotted Chaser carried on ovipositing alone. A male Four-spotted Chaser was also at territory and occasionally clashed with the Broad-bodied Chasers. I also got close-up views of a female Blue-tailed Damselfly and Large-red Damselfly with remnants of dried chalky muddy water on their abdomens - presumably from oviposting into the ponds.

1st-9th June N. Ireland IR
During a visit on 1st June in mainly good weather to Montiaghs Bog NNR, Co. Antrim (J0965), about 5 mating pairs and probably at least 30 other males of the Irish Damselfly were also seen. The highest concentration (4 mating pairs and 15 or more males) were around a series of larger pools which had probably been recently created and had sparse emergent vegetation consisting of Sedges, probably Bottle Sedge Carex rostrata.
Other Odonata included Hairy Dragonfly (2 or 3 males and a mating pair in flight), Blue-tailed Damselfly (1), Large Red Damselfly (4), Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly (c. 30) and Variable Damselfly (c. 30). No Azure Damselflies were seen though a few may have been present.
Later at Craigavon Lakes, North Armagh, Common Blue Damselly was frequent, mostly teneral but a few mature males and females.
Tom Shevlin reports an Emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) at Ballyvaloo near Curracloe, Co. Wexford, on 6th June. He also saw 5 Painted Lady butterflies there, which may indicate the Emperor was a migrant rather than being locally bred.
I counted at least 30 immature Keeled Skimmer dragonflies at Leitrim Lodge (J224265) near Hilltown yesterday.This is the earliest I have ever seen the species (last year I saw a handful on 13th June there). There were also about 10 Pyrrhosoma nymphula.
There were also 2 Scarce Blue-tailed damselflies in a gravel pit at Ballynahatten near Kilkeel (J282118). Also seen were about 10 Ischnura elegans and several Enallagma cyathigerum.
Robert Northridge reports a Hairy Dragonfly (aka Spring Hawker or Hairy Hawker, Brachytron pratense) in his garden at Enniskillen on 7th June.
Alex Copland reports Variable, Large Red and Blue-tailed Damselfly and Hairy Hawker (four) and Four-spotted Chaser (ten) at Turraun, Lough Boora Peatlands, Co. Offaly, on 5th June, and two Hairy Dragonfly, four Spotted Chaser and one Common Blue Damselfly and one Variable Damselfly at Portumna Forest Park on 6th June.
In mainly cloudy but warm and calm conditions on 9th June I visited Black Lough on Dunmore mountain south of Ballynahinch, Co. Down. On the main open water area there was 1 mating and 1 ovipositing pair of Irish Damselflies, with probably about 12-15 males (it was hard to cover the whole area properly as the ground was treacherous!). I also saw a male in a small marshy area several hundred yards to the south and a female in another area of marsh near the road to the west. Four-spotted Libellula were frequent on the water and in nearby scrub, etc, with possibly 15 seen, there were a few Coenagrion puella and 2 or 3 Pyrrhosoma nymphula also.

6th June W. Yorkshire JWC
On the 6th June 04 I visited the local Pontefract Park/ Race Course in West Yorkshire where I have been casually recording Odonata for the past six years. The Irrigation pool near to the railway banking is the main site, but since the nearby open cast mine has been filled it seems the water table at the park has risen. Thus an area between the i pool and the railway banking, still inside of the course, held water but underneath lots of Bushes. Last year these bushes were cut so that the punters could see a little more of the course, a sad loss for the breeding birds but potentially good for dragonflies. So on the 6th I visited and to my surprise the new area had at least 15 Four Spot Chasers ( 20+ throughout) no more than 4 has been recorded before. But then a superb Male Broad Bodied Chaser flew through, the only previous record here was a late female on 19-08-02 on the railway banking vegetation.
After a short while I realised that there was more than one, in fact 5 males were noted, and then a ovipositing Female came into view.A further female (or the same) was seen in tandem with one of the males, and further into the park yet another female was seen on a tiny area of water. Other sightings in the immediate area were: Emperor male, Large Red Damselflies 30+, Common Blue Damselflies 100+, Blue Tailed Damselflies 20+ and Azure Damselflies were present.

7th June Montgomeryshire MW
Male Emperors are now on the wing and patrolling sections of the Montgomeryshire Canal. One female Emperor was also seen ovipositing. The Emperors emerged over last weekend. A male Four Spotted Chaser was seen today along with single male and female Banded Demoiselles. The other ususal suspects are seen regularly every day now ie. Azure Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Red Eyed Damselfly and Blue-Tailed Damselfly. A possible female Variable Damselfly still needs to be confirmed, it may just be a blue form Azure female variant, and the photograph has been passed to other recorders for their views on this. If it is a Variable it is the first record in the county.

7th June Hampshire D&JD
Basingstoke Canal. Between the Canal Centre and Potters Pool were several Somatachlora metallica and a few Cordulia.

7th June Devon JB
Between 09.00 & 12.15 at Stover, 2 male Red-eyed (Erythromma najas), c.20 Common Blue (Enallagma cyathigerum), c.40 Azure (Coenagrion puella), c.20 Blue-tailed (Ischnura elegans) and c.60 Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), most of the latter in tandem or ovipositing. Anisoptera: 3 male Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense), at least 5 male & 1 female Emperor (Anax imperator), 2 Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea), 12+ Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa), one male Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) and 20+ Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata), including one super 'praenubilia' posing for photos!

Of interest, I recently had a male Emperor hunting over a small pond at Stover at 21.45 at the beginning of the month - still flying when we left, although it was almost too dark to see!

4th June Berkshire MiW
On 4.6.04. John E. Warren saw 3 male and 1 female Banded demoiselles from the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, Reading, Berks. SU7071

3rd June Essex RoyW
I saw my first White-legged Damselflies of the year yesterday (3rd June), with several immature individuals at Cornmill Meadows.
Elsewhere the first Black-tailed Skimmers are now on the wing (2 at Oare Marshes, Kent on 29th May & 3 at Sewardstone, Essex two days later). Downy Emeralds are showing well on many of the ponds in Epping Forest, generally only in small numbers other than at Wake Valley Pond. A male Downy Emerald patrolling the edge of Strawberry Hill Pond on 28th May caught the attention of a Mandarin duckling as it passed about three inches over its head. The duckling made a good attempt at grabbing it - leaping almost clear of the water in the process - but I would consider it unlikely to be a successful dragonfly predator! Away from the forest ponds good numbers of maturing Emperors are present over some of the remaining patches of heathland (such as sunshine plain), feeding during sunny spells and landing in heather or on the ground when the sun goes behind clouds for any length of time.

1st-3rd June Hampshire D&JD
1st June: Norris Bridge soakaway pond. We went there this afternoon to see if any Brachytron had emerged.
No brachytron exuvia found!
Walking through the bankside vegetation we counted 75 exuvia of Anax plus one failed emergent.
No doubt some with a desire to work out the male versus female emergent proportions could have spent happy hours there and found those that we missed.
Had a word with Chris Hall--- pond has now been there two years!
Last year there were a few and some of those were on vegetation sticking out of the water,and had to be
collected with a thin pole/branch..
2nd June: Today we went to Eelmoor Flash,accessing from the Towpath,Having passed through the Aeroplane spotters and some fishermen!
Sum total was 2 Common Blue damsels and I Elegans. Not quite as descibed in the new book.
So we went back to Norris Soak-away pond to check out a question we had been asked. The pond is slightly downhill from the new bridges and roundabout and the feedpipes arrive in gravel which is secured by wirebound pallets of heavy stone. The round pond is around 20metres in diameter.
We had been asked if Anax had the same habit as Southern Hawker and was happy to emerge on wire? The answer is yes, there were ten exuvia -- not counted yesterday since we didnt look --- hanging from the wire bindings.
The plantain out in the water, empty yesterday, had five exuvia hanging from the stalks.
We met another 10 plus fresh exuvia with very clean white trailers hanging in the vegetation. But we did notice that a number of yesterday''s count had vanished including the failed emergence.What eats exuvia??
We have noticed this effect with Gomphus at Goring.
One emergent Quadrimaculata was found, which indicates that the large predatory nymphs of Anax hadn't eaten everything! One Cordulia was flying around but no idea where it had emerged from. No other exuvia species was found!
3rd June: Norris Bridge soakaway. Todays count of Anax exuvia shows a decrease,Only 20 with damp dark exuvia cases and white streamers. The five on the plantain have vanished as have many of the others that were there yesterday.
So the sum is 120 or more emergences plus one failure.
Today we recovered single exuvia for Quad and Cordulia, which indicates that smaller dragonflies are emerging from the pond.

3rd June Norfolk CM
At Hickling today:- 2 Norfolk Hawkers along the first section of Swallowtail trail, also plenty of Four spot Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, and lots of Azure & Variable Damselfly. Also 6+ Swallowtail butterfly.

31st May W. Yorkshire JW
Five Broad Bodied Chaser and a teneral Black-tailed Skimmer were the highlights of a visit to Bullcarr Mires, near Upton, West Yorkshire. Other species noted included 49 Four Spot Chaser and 3 Common Blue Damselfly and small numbers of Blue-tailed, Azure and Large Red Damselflies.

31st May Surrey PO
Sightings along the Basingstoke canal Sheerwater - Woking
Damselflies: Large red damselfly, Common Blue damselfly, Blue tailed damselfly, Red-eyed damselfly (very common)
Dragonflies: Downy Emerald, Four-spotted chaser.
Last year (end of July saw Brilliant emerald on same stretch of canal)

29th May Essex TC
Fishing Lake, approach to Hylands park, Writtle, Chemsford, Essex.
There was large numbers of White-Legged Damselflies here today. Mostly the immature colouration (lactea) found in the nearby long grass, but I counted at least 10 fully coloured adults. It would indicate that this species breeds here since so many immatures were seen. This is unusual as this species is more associated with rivers.I have read though that it occassionally uses still waters to breed.
There was also large numbers of Red-eyed Damsels, seen mostly on the floating vegetation, incuding several prs in tandem. I will keep my eye out later for the Small Red-eyed, as several hundred were present here last August.
Other species present, Common Blue Damsel,Large Red, Blue Tailed & Azure. A teneral Emperor was briefly seen as I disturbed it & it flew high into trees. Also a single Four spot. This is usually a good site for Black-tailed Skimmers, so I shall be looking out for them in the next week or so.

31st May Northants MT
With the family away visiting the in-laws for half-term, I took the opportunity to carry out the first dragonfly survey of the Grand Union Canal in the county with the aim of finding White-legged Damselflies. Although most of the Canal is heavily channelled with no recorded activity of any species, I found 3 pre-flight emergent adults and 10 exuviae, and recorded adults at a couple of new sites. The exuviae are the first proof of breeding on the Canal! I moved back down the A5 to the River Tove at Towcester to see the Beautiful Demoiselles, and bumped into Chris, another Northants enthusiast. We visited one part of the Tove and recorded many Beautiful and Banded Demoiselles together, as well as several teneral White-legged Damselflies and a few Large Red. All in all, a long but excellent days recording.

30th May Cambs. AGP
Yesterday afternoon in 100 yds along the Counter Drain - Four-spot Chaser, 6; Scarce Chaser, 4; Hairy, 5; Red-eyed Dam., Many; Blue-tail, Few; Azure, Many; Beautiful Demoiselle, 1 pair.

30th May Leics. SH
Today 30/05/04 on the Grantham canal in Leicestershire between Plungar & Barkstone-le-Vale. 5 male & 2 ovipositing female Hairy Dragonflies. Variable Damselfly in huge numbers
30+ Four-Spotted Chasers.

29th May Devon NP
Female emperor ovipositing at Dawlish Warren, Devon this afternoon. Also pair broad-bodied chasers included a female ovipositing.

29th May Devon RC/CH
A visit to Bystock Pond today gave us the first sightings of the year of Beautiful Demoiselle (2 x females), male and female Downy Emeralds (seen ovipositing) and a female Broad-bodied Chaser. Small numbers of the usual suspects ... Azure, Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Large Red. Hairy dragonfly absent on this occasion.

26th May Northants. MT
I visited the River Ise after work to check for recent exuviae, and in the hope of finding early White-legged Damselflies (they are due any day now), no sign yet though. Along with Large Red Damselfly and Banded Demoiselle exuviae, I found two teneral Red-eyed Damselflies and one exuvia. I have only ever seen individuals of this species on the river, and assumed they were just passing through, as even on the slow flowing parts, it is still too fast to allow the growth of the typical floating vegetation favoured by this species.

26th May Northants MT
I visited the River Ise after work to check for recent exuviae, and in the hope of finding early White-legged Damselflies (they are due any day now), no sign yet though. Along with Large Red Damselfly and Banded Demoiselle exuviae, I found two teneral Red-eyed Damselflies and one exuvia. I have only ever seen individuals of this species on the river, and assumed they were just passing through, as even on the slow flowing parts, it is still too fast to allow the growth of the typical floating vegetation favoured by this species.

25th May Sussex PhilW
Six mature male Small Red Damselflies and several tenerals seen in boggy pasture near Jarvis Brook on the edge of Ashdown Forest, Sussex. Also one Broad-Bodied Chaser. This, a known site for Keeled Skimmers, Golden-Ringed Dragonflies and Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries, is under serious threat from the owners who have deepened several boggy runnels and sprayed off the young bracken. BDS Sussex Branch please take note!

25th May Lancs. DMcG
At Marton Mere LNR in Blackpool, Lancs
3 4-Spots and ''many'' Common Blue and blueTailed Damsels. Also reports of Emperors on the wing nearby and of a Brown Hawker which I thought might have been too early but I notice someone has reported Common Darter already.

23rd May Devon HK
Stover Country Park. Excellent viewing of the Broad Bodied
Chaser, Four Spotted Chaser, Hairy Dragonfly and the Downy Emerald.

23rd May Oxon. TC
Goring, Thames, Oxfordshire
Left Essex today in search of Club tailed dragonflies, a new species for me. Was not disappointed. Eventually came across about 8 tenerals, & watched one change from green to yellow over a period of an hour from 10.00 to 11.00am. I found them in long vegetation, consisting of mostly Comfrey, Cleavers & Nettles alongside the riverbank. The site was about a mile downstream from Goring Lock, past the old brick railway bridge alongside a Horse paddock. There was also large numbers of Banded Demoiselles present here.

22nd May Essex TC
Epping Forest. At least 6 mature Downy Emeralds were patrolling At the Wake Valley pond. Also 2 Broad Bodied Chasers were on the wing. Suprisingly still no evidence of Quads yet this year on the pond.
Also surveyed the Lost Pond & Baldwins pond, plenty of Damsels, Large Reds, Blue tailed & Common blues. Evidence of Downy Emerald on the Lost Pond.
Whilst walking back from the ponds back to the car park on the Woodford road I was rather suprised to come across a teneral Souther Hawker along the woodland path. I have never seen one this early before.

23rd May Hampshire RC
At Whiteley Pastures in Hampshire today (23rd May):- 1 newly emerged Emperor Dragonfly; 2 Downy Emeralds; 1 Four-spotted Chaser and 1 Broad-bodied Chaser. Also several Azure and Large Red damselflies.

23rd May W. Yorkshire JW
South Kirkby Industrial Park, West Yorkshire
South Kirkby Industrial Park is a newly developed area of the former South Kirkby Colliery Site that I usually pass through, rather quickly, on my way to the numerous dragonfly filled ponds of the neighbouring Johnny Brown''s Common area. However after coming across an injured Broad-bodied Chaser beside one of the newly created Industrial Park balancing ponds last week, I decided to return this weekend and give the place a closer look.
Species noted at the sites 5 small ponds today included 14 Broad-bodied Chaser, 5 Four-spot Chaser, 84 Large Red Damselfly, 28 Blue-tailed Damselfly and small numbers of Azure and Common Blue Damselfly.
I am going to keep an eye on the site and see what else turns up as the season progresses.

22nd May Devon RC/CH
One male Downy Emerald patrolling Bystock Pond, Near Exmouth, Devon. Also One male Hairy Dragonfly, and a few Large Red, Azure and Blue-tailed damselflies.
Aylesbeare Common, Devon: Male Hairy Dragonfly (exuvia found), female Broad-bodied Chasers x 3, small numbers of Large red and Azure damselfly.

23rd May Devon PB
Stover''s year so far... 11 species have been seen. A very early emperor exuviae seen on the 5th May, many hairy dragonfly on the wing patrolling the fringes of the lake and inlet channel. Peak counts of azure, large red, red eyed and common blue are 100+, 100+, 150+ and 25 females respectively. Our most rare dragonfly the downy emerald has been seen; one male on the morning of the 19th May. Broad bodied and four spot records have also been very good.
On a less positive note we have confirmed the presence of crassula for the first time in the Park. This has almost certainly come from Little Bradley Ponds either by wildfowl or humans; Little Bradley also has a parrots feather problem. This invasive weed will not be managed in the near future at Little Bradley, so the future of all other wetland habitats in the region are threatened. Please if you do visit Little Bradley and propose to visit other wetlands afterwards, clean boots and equipment such as tripods thoroughly. Hopefully our vigilance has reduced the potential impact at Stover but everyone needs to employ good practice wherever they are in the country. If you spot this weed on your travels in the Bovey Basin I would be glad of the records and appropriate pressure can be placed on the relevant organisations.

22nd May Hampshire RC
At Swanwick Nature Reserve, Hampshire today (22nd May): 1 Downy Emerald and two pairs of Red-eyed Damsels (1 pair in tandem) - plus a sprinkling of Large Red, Azure and Blue-tailed Damsels.

18/19th May Essex RoyW
18th May. Cornmill Meadows, Essex. Hairy Dragonflies have now returned to patrol territories over the streams and ponds with about 25 males present around the site along with a single ovipositing female. Broad-bodied chasers continue to emerge from the ponds and a very early teneral Southern Hawker was present in the open woodland area to the east of the dragonfly sanctuary.
19th May. Epping Forest, Essex. The first mature Downy Emeralds are back at some of the ponds in the forest, with a few at Wake Valley (TQ422987) and Earls Path Ponds (TQ417966). A newly emerged Emperor Dragonfly was seen at Strawberry Hill Pond (TQ415965).

21st May Northants MT
I returned to Ditchford Lakes after a break for a few days (well, you can have too much of a good thing!), and while walking my regular route, I found upwards of 100 Four-spotted Chaser exuviae, with about 10 pre-flight emergent individuals and many flying adults. Resting above one of the Four-spotted Chaser exuviae was a newly emerged female Common Darter!. I located her exuvia and proceeded to confirm my ID through my macro lens - the yellow stripes down the legs were duly present. This is very early for this species in the Northants. Many of the adult Four-spotted Chasers were maturing in the surrounding meadows, and one male seen perched by the lake margin was of the rare praenubila form - my first record of this form in the County. Red-eyed Damselflies were holding territory on the lily pads and flying around the lake fringes and a few tandem pairs were seen. I was also fortunate to spot 2 female Hairy Dragonflies oviposting and 4 males at territory. Many Blue-tailed Damselflies and Common Blue Damselflies were present as were a handful of Banded Demoiselles from the nearby Ditchford Lock on the River Nene.

21st May Berkshire SPG
5 Emperors emerged this morning from a garden pond in Reading.

21st May Hants. SKW
Titchfield Haven (Hants) today (Thursday): Hairy Dragonfly 15-20, Four-spotted Chaser 5, plus Azure, Large Red and Blue-tailed Damselflies.

20th May Herts. EJB
Broad-bodied chasers emerging from our garden pond in Ware, Herts this morning.

18th May Devon JB
2-3 male Hairy Dragonflies (Brachytron pratense) plus a mating pair and a fairly fresh female seen between 13.00 & 14.00 at Exminster Marshes on the 18th. Also about 20 Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) and 120+ Azures (Coenagrion puella); mainly immatures, but one ovipositing pair was found.

17/18th May N. Ireland IR
17th: Common Blue Damselfly: About 30 teneral of both sexes at Craigavon Lakes, Co. Armagh. Variable Damselfly: There were up to 20 Coenagrion sp. at Montiaghs Bog NNR, Co. Antrim. I had no net but caught one by hand which proved to be a teneral male C. pulchellum. I saw several others closely which looked like the characteristic female C. pulchellum colour pattern, ie with more blue than the female C. puella. However it is possible that C. puella may also have been among the c. 20. Four-spotted Chaser: About 30 or so, well distributed over the bog. There were also about half a dozen Large Red Damselflies. I was very disappointed not to see any Hairy Dragonflies and to some extent also any Irish Damseflies (though it may be a little early for the latter).
Today (18th) was another bright and warm day, though somewhat breezy, and this may have been the reason a significant number of Zygoptera were found sheltering inside Annagarriff Wood at Peatlands Park, North Armagh. These included Pyrrhosoma nymphula (c. 8) and a number of Coenagrions. 1 male Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella was caught and identified, and at least 2 Variable Damselflies (C. pulchellum) seen. There also several Libellula quadrimaculata, but this was more abundant round 1 or 2 ponds and in grassy meadows, with 15 or so altogether.

17th May Hampshire RC
1 male Beautiful Demoiselle in woodland near West Meon today (17th). Hairy Dragonflies are now being seen regularly at Titchfield Haven NNR.

16th May Cambs. MP/SP
Woodwalton Fen : About 20 Large Red Damselflies, many in cop; 6 Blue-tailed Damselfly; 5 Hairy Dragonflies inc a beautifully preserved exuviae; 2 Common Blue Damselfly; 2 Azure Damselflies; 2 teneral 4-spotted Chaser also seen. A hot day and the season's going well !

16th May Cumbria DC
Maturing White-faced Darters on the wing at Scaleby Moss, and a few emerging (mid day) on 16th May, though no mature adults present at pools. From the number of exuviae found, it seems likely that the species had commenced emergence several days previously. Four-spotted Chaser also on the wing, and Large Red Damselflies mating and ovipositing. First emergence of Banded Demoiselles on the River Eden east of Carlisle noted on 18th May (- not seen at same site on 16th).

16th May Cambs. TC
Wicken Fen Cambs
A visit to this wonderful reserve didnt fail to disappoint on a exceptionally warm day for May 23c+. Hairy Dragonflies were abundant, at least 25 counted on the wing, Male & female. Two Four Spotted Chasers on the wing. Also a brief appearance was made by a bustling Broad Bodied Chaser that clashed momentarily with a Male Hairy before continuing on its way. Numerous Azure, Viarable, Large Red, & Blue tailed Damselflies seen around the reserve. For those interested in Butterflies, Brimstones were everywhere.

15/16th May Essex/Oxon. RoyW
15/5/04. Wake Valley Pond, Epping Forest. About 40 or 50 Downy Emeralds emerging during the morning as well as at least six Hairy Dragonflies, one Red-eyed Damselfly and several Azure Damselflies. A few Large Red Damselflies were also present but no emergents seen. Most, if not all, of the Downy Emeralds appeared to be males.
16/5/04. Thames south of Goring. Approximately 20 Club-tailed Dragonflies seen along with larger numbers of exuviae (perhaps as many as 50). I didn't arrive until 9am, by which time most of the Club-tails I saw were just about to take their maiden flight, up and away from the water. Some of the exuviae were badly damaged, as if they had been present for several days. Also a dozen Banded Demoiselles.

16th May N. Ireland IR
Robert Northridge reports a Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) at Knockmore hill near Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh, on 16th May. This is the first 2004 record for Northern Ireland (though recorded by Christopher Wilson at the Raven in Co. Wexford on 9th May along with Libellula quadrimaculata - Enallagma cyathigerum and Ischnura elegans were recorded on 1st and 2nd May respectively by Angus Tyner at Cronykeery near Ashford, Co. Wicklow). The only other Odonata species recorded in Northern Ireland this year is Large Red Damselfly, recorded on 25th April in Co. Down by Ian Rippey, though on 24th in Co. Wicklow by Angus Tyner.

16th May W. Yorks. JW
Johnny Brown's Common, West Yorkshire
A walk around Johnny Browns Common area between Upton and South Kirkby, West Yorkshire produced 6 dragonfly species including small numbers of Blue-tailed, Large Red and Azure Damselflies and 4 Four-Spot Chasers throughout the site and a single Common Blue Damselfly at Johnson's Ponds. A Broad-bodied Chaser (incapable of flight with wings that appeared to have failed to form properly after emergence) was found at South Kirkby Industrial Park Ponds.

16th May Essex RG
Church Road, Hockley, Essex
Single, fully mature red-eyed damselfly and large red damselfly, plus teneral 'blue' damselflies beginning to appear.

15th May Ireland IR
Christopher Wilson reports 3 Variable Damselflies (Coenagrion pulchellum) and 15 Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) at North Slob, Co. Wexford, on 15th May, the latter being the 1st Irish record this year.
Peter Doyle also saw a Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) on Great Saltee Island, Co. Wexford, on 8th May, one day earlier than the record at Raven, Co. Wexford.

14th May Essex TC
Wake valley pond, Epping forest.
The first real decent days sunshine in Essex for a couple of weeks today, tempted me out looking for early season Odonata. An hour survey round the pond yielded one freshly emerged Downy Emerald. Wings still together, in a Beech tree about 2 metres up, plus one fully mature in the margins.
Cornmill meadows, Waltham Abbey.
Went on to Cornmill meadows for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Large numbers of Banded Demoiselles in attendance. Dozens of Azure, Viarable, Blue tailed & Large Reds. 3 Hairy Dragonflies were actively feeding on flies at high level, sunny side of some large willow trees. 2 freshly emerged Broad Bodied Chasers were found at one of the ponds, on grass at the pond edge. Also one fully mature on the wing, settling for long periods on tall Nettles, posing to be photographed.
Altogether a very good day, to kick off my Dragonfly season.

14th May Warwicks. GEC
Along the River Avon at Marlcliff, mid-afternoon, there were 2 mobile Club-tailed Dragonflies and a male exuvia was found. Banded Demoiselles totalled at least 170 and there were also good numbers upriver at Barford (150) and Wasperton (120).

14th May Devon JB
A visit to Little Bradley Ponds this morning (7.30-9 a.m.) produced a number of Azure Damselflies, mainly tenerals, but at least one smart mature male, and 11+ Large Reds. A single immature Red-eyed Damselfly, immature male Beautiful Demoiselle and a very fresh teneral Four-spotted Chaser made up for the recent poor weather!
At Stover, between 9 & 11 a.m., a single mature Azure Damselfly and an immature male Broad-bodied Chaser, plus good numbers of Large Red Damselflies - a minimum of 31 pairs counted, many of which were ovipositing.

13th May Lincs. AGP
Baston Fen, Lincs, many Variable Damselflies.

13th May Northants. MT
Another lunchtime visit to Ditchford Lakes, this time on a warm and sunny day (17 degrees!). The Meadow adjacent to the main lake was buzzing with immature Red-eyed Damselflies, as were the bushes bordering the water, and a single female Hairy Dragonfly was hawking in the long grass some distance from the water. I estimated there were nearly 100 Red-eyes! Several were emerging too. A few Common Blues were in evident, as were 5 Blue-tailed Damselflies (including my first rufescens form female). I collected 6 more Hairy Dragonfly exuviae, although no males were evident hawking their territory. I also encountered an emerging Four-Spotted Chaser and took a few photos before heading back to work. I returned after work to collect the exuvia to confirm the ID, and promptly found another! A good day at what is an exceptional site.

10th May Suffolk AGP
RSPB Reserve Lakenheath, Suffolk, 6 Four-spot Chasers.

10th May Berkshire CW
Gomphus in Reading.... that was a surprise. One immature took off near-vertically from grass in a Reading Thames-side park. 4 exuviae were within a length of 6 yards along the bank, on brambles and willow-herb. The opposite bank looks more suitable for emergence, so I'll check it
later. In nearby Thames Valley Park, Red-eyed Damselflies were flying, but no 4-spots were evident yet.

10th May Cheshire RMcH
Craig Higson spotted the first Large Red Damsel at a Birchwood pond on Friday (7-5-04) and I spotted a single LR damsel today (10-5-04) at the same location (SJ643910). This is a day later than last year emergence (6-5-03) of Large Reds at the same pond, but no sign of the Azure's that were present also on the 6-5-2003.
No sign of activity at Gorse Covert (SJ 669 928) pond today (10-5-04).

9th May Montgomeryshire MW
One very teneral female Azure Damselfly with an almost cream coloured lower abdomen and thorax and the characteristic black upper abdomen markings and one teneral male Azure Damselfly with a green thorax and blue abdomen seen on the Montgomeryshire Canal between SJ26211802 and SJ26391716. Previous earliest record for this species in the county was 9/6/73. Visit the Dragonflies of Montgomeryshire website for a photograph of the teneral female.

7th May Berkshire CW
A male and female Beautiful Demoiselle (C. virgo) were on nettles by Clayhill Brook, Reading. Both almost mature. Nearby at Searles Lakes were dozens of mature Variable Damselflies, with a few mature Azures and teneral Common Blues.

7th May Northants MT
I visited Ditchford Lakes & Meadows Reserve this lunchtime and found 3 Hairy Dragonfly exuviae, and 1 female pre-flight emergent resting on a rush some 30cm from her exuvia. She was in full female colouration but unfortunately was missing one wing, with her three others disfigured and bent. I estimated her age at 2-3 days based on colouration and that she wasn't present on my last visit to Ditchford on 4 May. I also watched about 20 Red-eyed Damselflies at pre-flight emergent stage, and witnessed a handful take their maiden flight. I collected 16 exuviae, although several more were present with the teneral adults still clinging to them. It was interesting to note that all had emerged very low down on the sedges and rushes, with their caudal lamellae almost submerged. Also seen were 2 pre-flight emergent Blue-tailed damselflies with exuviae, a green form immature male and a violacea form immature female and 3 emergent Common Blue Damselflies and 5 exuviae.

1st May Norfolk TW
A visit to Fritton Lake, Norfolk, with non-dragonflying friends, on Sat 1st May produced a single Hairy Dragonfly. My earliest ever by 12 days, even though the weather was dull & cloudy.

3rd May Northants MT
I braved the Bank Holiday showers for an early morning visit to Wilson's Pits. Although there was no adult flying activity (I don't blame them!), I came across 3 Hairy Dragonfly exuviae. I also found 9 coenagrionid exuviae, which I have yet to identify. Two other unidentified coenagrionids were emerging, but they picked the wrong day as I watched the rain knock them both out before they could finish!

2nd May Montgomeryshire MW
2/5/04 - Three teneral Large Red Damselflies were recorded on the Montgomeryshire Canal at Four Crosses, Powys between SJ26461858 and SJ26211802. The previous earliest record for this species in the county was 27/5/1978 (BRC data). Emergence had probably taken place early this morning or yesterday. Further information and pictures can be seen at the Dragonflies of Montgomeryshire website

2nd May Norfolk PT
Upton Broad & Marshes. Reasonable numbers of Pyrrhosoma nymphula throughout this area, plus several Coenagrion puella on the wing. One or two Libellula quadrimaculata were seen in Upton Fen itself and several Brachytron pratense, both males and females, were also showing well. Out in the grazing marsh dykes a handful of teneral C. pulchellum were found late afternoon.

29th April Cheshire RMcH
Some Cheshire records for 2004 @ Anderton Nature Park (SJ651751) near the River Weaver at Northwich. Craig Higson and I discovered c20+ Large Red Damsels (P. nymphula) mostly teneral but a few fully matured, 3 or 4 teneral Blue Tailed Damsels (I. elegans) plus a couple of other mature blues, one we got a good look at and thought was Azure (C. puella), the other we only got a brief glimpse of and thought was possibly Common Blue (E. cyathigerum), but it was gone before we could confirm this ID.
Several damselfly exuviae circa 50+ so suspect that emergence has occurred over the last day or two, as it was very cold wet and windy in Cheshire today.

25th April Derbyshire JimA
The unexpected warm spell over the weekend saw Derbyshires first Large Red Damsel at Calke Abbey on 25/4/04. A teneral was disturbed from vegetation by Head Warden Bill Cove and flew to land on trees over the water.

25th April Norfolk PT
Norfolk - Cockshoot Broad - 25th April
Over 20 Pyrrhosoma nymphula and at least 6 Coenagrion puella (also one possible Enallagma cyathigerum that unfortunately flew away across the water). None of the 'blues' had developed their full blue colour by the time they were found, early afternoon.

26th April Glos. MJJ
After a couple of days of very pleasant sunny weather, it was no surprise today to spot the years first Blue-tailed Damselflies around noon on the site pond. 3 first flight emergents and one looking well coloured male, probably a couple of days old. This is pretty much on schedule based on my 5 years records on this pond.
However.... not expected and NOT on schedule was a teneral Broad Bodied Chaser! Perched at the top of a bush, sadly out of camera range but there none the less. This beats the previous earliest record here by weeks. I've never observed any dragonfly on the pond before mid May.
Some 30 plus Large red Damsels also seen, at various stages of which around 10 first flights observed.

25th April Herts. EJB
3 teneral Large Red Damselflies and 8 exuviae at our garden pond in Ware, Herts. yesterday (25th April).

25th April Kent ET&JM
A trip to Grove Ferry, Stodmarsh, rewarded us with a brief view of a Hairy Dragonfly. However, on-lookers seemed rather more interested in our excited reaction!

25th April Cambs. HC
A visit to Castor Hanglands (just outside Peterborough) this morning produced 5 teneral Large Red Damselfly, one filmed before maiden flight, and six exuviae.

24th April Berks. CW
At Reading's Foudry Brook, one mature male Blue-tailed Damselfly. I failed to notice observer "SPG" though!

24th April Berks. SPG
My first visit of the year to Foudry Brook, Reading turned up 4 Banded Demoiselles (2 mature males, 1 immature male and 1 female).

24th April Essex RG
At least a dozen Large Red Damselfly at Woodholme Nursery, near Stock, Essex

24th April W. Yorks JW
A single teneral Large Red Damselfly and a one exuvia on a Yellow Flag Iris leaf at Clayworth's Ponds, Johnny Browns Common, near Upton in West Yorkshire this afternoon.

24th April W. Yorks JW
A single teneral Large Red Damselfly and a one exuvia on a Yellow Flag Iris leaf at Clayworth's Ponds, Johnny Browns Common, near Upton in West Yorkshire this afternoon.

17th April Leics. SH
A single Teneral Large Red Damselfly and a fresh exuvia found this afternoon at a private reserve in the east of the county, has got the 2004 season off to a start in Leicestershire.

15th April Norfolk PT
Just to let you know that I've just got back from Upton Fen where during a couple of hours searching I found my first three Pyrrhosoma nymphula exuviae of the year, plus one pre-flight emergent. The Norfolk season has started!

My personal 'Earliest Date' records go back to 1993 and todays find equals the date from 1997, but is 3 days later than my earliest records in 2002.

Good hunting!

14th April Northants MT
Popping across the River Ise at Lunchtime, I spotted a single Large Red Damselfly leaving the river area. I explored further down, but couldn't locate any others. This beats the previous earliest sighting in the Northants Darter database by about 1 week (20 April 2001 at Summer Leys).

13th April Glos. MJJ
Brockworth Gloucester. Seen yesterday (13th April), 4 teneral Large Red damsels a little after noon. A little breezy but with warm sunshine. All brand new emergences seen rising from the water's edge and having the distinctive yellow eye of the newly hatched. This compares with April 16th last year so things look about on schedule. Next out should be the I. elegans around the 20th if the weather holds.