Sightings - Early 2005

This page contains Sightings sent to the BDS between January and June 2005. You can also go to the Sightings for July to December 2005.

June 23rd APk Co. Durham
Apparent male Broad Bodied Chaser also seen at Low Barns Nature Reserve near Witton-le-Wear, Co. Durham. First known observation of the species at this site.

June 25th/26th MP/SP Cambs.
Wicken Fen: First weekend of the Dragonfly Project. Saturday not very good for people or dragonflies. Sunday much warmer, good number of people and lots of dragonflies. Black-Tailed Skimmer, Four-Spot Chaser, Azure damselfly, Common blue damselfly, Variable damselfly, Blue-tail damselfly, Emerald damselfly, Common Darter, Red-eyed damselfly, Emperor, Hairy Dragonfly.

June 26th RPe Glamorgan
Teneral male Common darter at Kenfig NNR(Glamorgan) on Sunday 26th June, seems slightly early. Also Hairy dragonfly still, Emperor dragonfly, Black-tailed Skimmer, Broad-bodied Chaser.

June 28th PM Lancs.
The Middleton (nr Heysham, Lancs) Red-veined Darter maximum so far this year was seen on 26th with 4 definite males and one ovipositing female. At least two were seen on 27th in rather windy (but westerly) conditions, therefore the usual shore was sheltered. Only one male was seen on 28th as a southeasterly 'battered' the favoured shoreline. Other dragonflies on the various ponds comprising the site included up to 10 male and two female Black-tailed Skimmer (all but one male on the first pond with the RVD), c200 4-spotted Chaser, 22 Emperor, male Broad-bodied Chaser reported, lots of teneral Common Darter plus Azure, Large Red, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies.

June 27th IJW Shropshire
My first visit to Whixall Moss, 27.06.05, found five species of damselflies on the wing, Emerald, Large Red, Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed. Also seen were 5 White-faced Darters, which were all male and emerging Black Darter. Of the larger dragonflies numerous Four-spotted Chaser, 2 male Common Hawker and 2 male Emperors.

June 27th IR N. Ireland
I saw at least 3 Keeled Skimmers (Orthetrum coerulescens) at Bloody Bridge River Valley c. 2 miles south of Newcastle, Co. Down, today, the first record so far as I know in 2005 from Northern Ireland. One appeared to be a female and the others were either immature males or females. Interestingly only 1 was seen in the main flush area and 2 or 3 were in a sheltered hollow on the other side of the Bloody Bridge River. Weather was dull but calm and reasonably warm, though certainly it was bright here until late morning. I also saw a pair of Large Red Damselflies further down the valley.

June 26th JHa N. Yorks.
On 26th June on 5 small clifftop pools at Speeton , North Yorkshire (between Filey and Flamborough) there were
a minimum of 23 (possibly 25) broad bodied chasers consisting of 8 females and 15 + males. This seems to be very high numbers especially for North Yorks (and in one small area).

June 26th SPG Berks.
Lesser Emperor hawking in and out of gardens in Caversham, Reading. I watched it for two or three minutes and on several occasions it flew within a few feet of me, allowing good views of green eyes, light brown/green thorax, dark brown abdomen and blue 'saddle'. CW spotted one in 2003, a couple of miles from this sighting. Coincidence, or might there have been some local ovipositing two years ago?

June 26th NJ Hants.
Romsey Hampshire: The first Small Red Damselflies seen on my garden ponds and stream today as well as the first Ruddy Darter. Other species seen include 700 Azure, 200 Large Red, 50 Blue-tailed, 10 Common Blue, eight Beautiful and three Red-eyed Damselflies, five Broad-bodied and three Four-spotted Chasers, three Black-tailed Skimmer, two Emperors and one male Golden-ringed.

June 23rd PCh Suffolk
At Sizewell Belts (adjacent to the Nuclear Power Station) I observed Norfolk Hawker ovipositing on Juncus sp. In it's locations in the Broads this species is reputed to oviposit only on Water Soldier plants (these don't occur at Sizewell). Norfolk Hawker has colonised and increased at this site (owned by British Energy plc and managed in conjuction with the Suffolk Wildlife trust) over the last couple of years but this is the first time that I have observed ovipositing. There were also several Hairy Dragonfly ovipositing.

June 26th C&LE Somerset
Was in Somerset over the weekend and managed to see a Southern Hawker at West Sedgemoor RSPB reserve.

June 24th PV Hants.
This morning (24 June) I saw an immature female Ruddy Darter at Bartley Heath in north Hampshire. Other species seen so far at this site this season include Beautiful Demoiselle and Broad-bodied Chaser (first seen 5 June), Azure Damselfly (11 June) and Black-tailed Skimmer (15 June).

June 22nd-24th PM Lancs.
22nd: At least 3 males and one ovipositing female Red-veined Darter at Middleton. Also a record count of 160 4-spotted Chaser.
24th: 3+ RVD males there today, showing continuously over the lunchtime. Also c10 Black-tailed Skimmer. Interesting to note the Lesser Emperor at Exeter being hammered by Emperors. When we had one at Middleton, nr Heysham three years ago it was continuously harassed and despite watching it for well over an hour, the views against a broken background were considered to be such that the Odonata committee did not consider enough detail had been obtained. This is not a complaint (although there was absolutely no doubt it was one) but a further observation of the excessive aggression shown by territorial male Emperors (as opposed to less violent treatment of Brown Hawkers etc).

June 22nd DSm Devon
Four male Scarce Chasers were seen and photographed on the Grand Western Canal recently near Westcott Bridge (between Sampford Peverell and Burlescombe). These follow one near Exeter in 2003 and suggest local breeding. The Lesser Emperor on the Exeter Canal was seen again fleetingly yesterday, being harried by male Emperors.

June 19th-23rd ME Essex/Beds.
19th June: Cornmill Meadows, Lea Valley Park; good numbers of Banded Demoiselles, several Broad-bodied Chasers and White-legged Damselflies and single Hairy and Emperor Dragonflies. Nearby, at Wake Valley Pond, Epping Forest, 20-30 Downy Emeralds and 4 Emperors.
22nd June: In Sandy, Bedfordshire, large numbers of Banded Demoiselles, Red-eyed Damselflies along the river Ivel along with 4+ White-legged Damselflies, Black-tailed Skimmers and a single Emperor. Highlight was a confused Demoiselle in tandem with a male Red-eyed Damselfly, who didn't look too happy about the situation! Nearby at The Lodge, 4 Emperors patrolling the small ornamental pond on the back lawn, along with Large Red and Red-eyed Damselflies, 4-spotted Chasers, with more surprisingly singles of White-legged Damselfly and Banded Demoiselle in the nearby wildlife garden (about 1km from the River Ivel).
23rd June: My first Brown Chaser of the year at College Wood, near Sandy, followed by 14+ Scarce Chaser on the River Ouse and windsailing pit at Fen Drayton, Cambs. The latter site also had 3+ White-legged Damsels, 3 Emperor, 10+ Black-tailed Skimmer, amongst immense numbers of freshly-emerged Blue-tailed Damsels.

June 22nd PG Glamorgan
Yesterday, Wednesday 22nd. June, during the afternoon, I visited Kenfig Pool, Bridgend, to birdwatch. However, I also have an interest in insects and have kept records for many years. Whilst there I saw a Lesser Emperor dragonfly patrolling in front of the south hide. Myself and my colleague watched it for ten minutes as close as ten metres through binoculars before we left the hide. I am very familiar with this species as I live for part of the year in Mallorca where I see it on a regular basis. We also saw at the Pool: Emperors (x4); Four-spotted chasers (x2); Black-tailed skimmers (x6); Common darters (c.10); Common blue and Blue-tailed damselflies (abundant).

June 22nd DSm Devon
Exeter Canal, Countess Wear sewage works, Exeter: During a lunchtime walk surveying for Hairy Dragonfly and Red-eyed Damselflies (both of which were present) between the swing bridge and the South West Water sewage treatment plant, I saw a male Lesser Emperor on five occasions. All sightings were over the canal alongside the SWW buildings and grey-green "tanks" (on the east bank) and adjacent to a nice pool on the west (the latter had a pair of Emperors, lots of emerging Common Darters and a few Black-tailed Skimmers and Hairys). A few Emperors were patrolling various stretches of the canal, but the Lesser had the characteristic bright blue base to the straight and otherwise rather dull abdomen, brownish thorax and green eyes.

June 18th JHa N. Yorks.
3 male Red-veined Darters were present at Filey Dams Nature Reserve, North Yorkshire on 18th June. Also two Broad-bodied Chasers on 18th/19th June.

June 20th LS Cumbria
Another year for early Common Darters at Watchtree Nature Reserve, north Cumbria with three individuals seen on 20th June - a week or so later than last year's date (12th June 2004).

June 17th-19th RG Essex/Suffolk
17th June, River Stour, Stratford St Mary, Essex: 6 male Scarce Chaser, abundant banded demoiselle, a few red-eyed and white-legged damselfly, plus Azure, Common Blue, Large Red and Blue-tailed.
River Stour, Dedham, Essex: 5 male and 1 female Scarce Chaser, 2 Emperor Dragonfly, plus large numbers of Banded Demoiselle and Azure Damselfly along with Common Blue, Blue-tailed and a few Large Red and Red-eyed Damselflies.
18th June, Orwell Estuary/Shotley Marsh, Suffolk: 4 male and 3 female Black-tailed Skimmer, 1 Emperor Dragonfly.
River Colne, near Wakes Colne, Essex: 2 male and 1 female Scarce Chaser, Banded Demoiselle, Azure , Large Red, Blue-tailed and a handful of Red-eyed Damselflies.
19th June, Pound Wood, Essex: 1 female Black-tailed Skimmer (only the second record for the reserve - presumably a wanderer from nearby), 1 Broad-bodied Chaser and abundant Azure and Large Red Damselflies over the pond.

June 21st SCr Co. Durham
I have just spotted a male Broad Bodied Chaser at my pond today, 21/06/2005 at 6:00pm. Postcode DL2 1PH in County Durham. Looking in my books I didn't think they were that far north.

June 18th RPe Glamorgan
Kenfig NNR: Hairy dragonfly (6) still flying near north hide, also Emperor dragonfly (2), Black-tailed Skimmer (5+ and one emerging from its exuvia), Four-spotted Chaser (3), Common Blue and Blue-tailed damselflies. Of most interest, my earliest record of a Southern Hawker, patrolling along the ride behind north hide.

June 18th MT Northants
The Northants Dragonfly group field trip to Ditchford Lakes on 18 June lived up to all the expectations the good weather conditions promised, with stunning displays of territorial behaviour from many species. We estimated over 20 Hairy Dragonfly at territory (the highest number recorded at one time here) including one female oviposting. Clashing with the Hairys were many Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmers and Emperors. We encountered two emerging Brown Hawkers and collected their exuviae. The usual damselflies were present and Red-eyes were there in high numbers. We moved on to the River Ise in nearby Wellingborough and added White-legged Damselflies and Banded Demoiselles, including exuviae of both species, to our list, and made the first sightings of Hairys (3) at the Wellingborough gravel pits. We made 12 species, and collected exuviae from at least 9 (several damselfly exuviae could not be identified in the field). On Sunday 19 June, as a Father's Day treat, I took the family to Fermyn Woods Country Park. One of the small plateau ponds has dried considerably since May and only two small pools of water remain. In one, I watched transfixed as about 20 Ruddy Darter larvae "darted" about in the water. I fished a few out to ID them. With them were a handful of Emerald Damselfly larvae too! I hope the water remains to a sufficient depth to allow emergence later in the summer, and I will watch this pond carefully!

June 17th/19th MP/SP Northants
CASTOR HANGLANDS 17/06/2005: Common Blue damselflies, Azure damselflies, Blue Tail damselflies, Large red damselfles, Four Spotted Chaser, Emperor Dragonfly, Broad Bodied Chaser M/F, Hairy Dragonfly.
TITCHMARSH 19/06/2005: Common Blue damselflies, Large red damselfles, Four Spotted Chaser, Emperor Dragonfly, Hairy Dragonfly, Banded Damoiselle, Brown Hawker, Red Eyed Damselflies (large), Black Tailed Skimmer.

June 19th PM Lancs.
Middleton Industrial Estate, nr Heysham, Lancs: Two male Red-Veined Darter showing well for at least two hours today plus one ovipositing female between 1200 and 1205hrs. Presumably they were active yesterday when there were no known observers. This is a quite extraordinary survival of this colony, given that there was only one really suitable day for flying in the whole emergence period in 2004 and the only records were a single (photographed) male and an ovipositing female, presumed to be this species. Lots of Black-tailed Skimmers here and at least 2 Broad-bodied Chaser on the Heysham Nature reserve site (most NW in Britain?) nearby.

June 18th HJV Hants.
Good day in the New Forest at Mill Lawn Brook, nr Burley. Eventually found three Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies - one ovipositing female and one pair in cop, in the more open areas with reduced vegetation, the pair were in a large flooded area with short grass. Also 200+ Southern Damselflies, 30+ Small Red Damselflies and 6 other species. Surprisingly Emperor on the stream but not Golden-ringed.

June 11th NJ Hants.
A male Golden-ringed Dragonfly patrolling the new stream I have just installed feeding into my pond. On the main pond today 400 Azure, 80 Large Red, 60 Blue-tailed, 20 Common and two male Red-eyed Damselflies, as well as three Broad-bodied and five Four-spotted Chasers, a male Emperor and two male Downy Emeralds. Also, two female Beautiful Demoiselles seen in bushes near pond.

June 10th RPe Glamorgan
Emperor dragonfly - male and ovipositing female at Cosmeston Lakes (dragonfly pool). Also many 4-spotted chaser, Azure damselfly, Common blue damselfly, Large Red damselfly, Blue-tailed damselfly.

June 9th MT Northants
At Stanwick Lakes today, several male Hairy Dragonflies were hawking their territories around the small fishing pits, with at least one per pit. While watching one clash with a Four-spotted Chaser, I heard wing rustling in the grasses below me, and located a pair of Hairys in-cop, they flew into a nearby bush and I managed some good photos (see website). Several more Four-spotteds were chasing each other around the pit margins. I got my first sighting this year of a male Emperor at territory too, who appeared to be eating lunch while flying to and fro. Hundreds of Red-eyed Damselflies, Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Azure Damselflies were in flight, in-cop, ovipositing as well as emerging. Numbers of Black-tailed Skimmers are building well, with about 20 seen in total, including one recently emerged about 2m inland on a grass stem.

June 8th VP Essex
Scarce Chasers are now expanding their range in the UK and are being found along many new river tributaries and watercourses where they have not previously been recorded. Good numbers were seen today by Carl Blamire on the Chelmer and Blackwater canal near Maldon, Essex, plus a Hairy Dragonfly.

June 8th CI Avon
An oddity: at 6pm today a Large Red Damselfly was investigating the buses at Bath central bus station.

June 5th/7th TC Suffolk/Essex
June 5th: Marks Hall Estate, nr Coggeshall, Essex. Good numbers of smalls were in abundance. Blue, blue tailed, Large Red, Azure, plus a few Red eyed, & a few Banded Demoiselles. Good views of at least 6 Broad bodied Chasers, including one lovely clean unmarked male specimen. Also found the exuviae evidence of a Southern Hawker. Went on to Chappel green, by the viaduct (millennium breathing space). Good numbers of Azure, Large red, Blue tailed, & Banded Demoiselles. A Emperor made an appearance, greeny in colour so either an immature or female.
June 7th: Made a trip to Barnby & North Cove, Suffolk today. Large numbers of Scarce chasers were present alongside the river Waveney, including several pairs in tandem. Good numbers of Variable, Azure, Large Red. A few Blue tailed & Banded Demoiselles. Great views were available of the Norfolk Hawker around the car park & Reserve. Counted 10 feeding all at one time in the car park area, together with a couple of Hairy. Also for those interested in Butterflies, a Clouded Yellow was present in the same area.

June 3rd-7th IR N. Ireland
June 3rd: I saw about 4 male and 1 female Irish damselflies (Coenagrion lunulatum) at Drumnahavil Bog ("Drumcarn ASSI") near Keady, Co. Armagh, on 3rd June; weather was reasonably warm and bright at times, with a fresh SW breeze, but dry. At least 2 were somewhat teneral in colour. Other Odonata were rather scarce, just about 3 Libellula quadrimaculata and 4 Coenagrion pulchellum. At Carnagh Forest several miles away (where there are 3 lakes), there were about 5 Enallagma cyathigerum and 1 male Coenagrion puella.
June 4th: On 4th June 2005 I saw up to 4 Hairy Dragonflies at Ballykilbeg, a few miles SE of Clough. There is little standing water in the fen apart from a ditch with abundant Watercress, etc, at the SW end. Also seen were 2 Large Red Damseflies and 2 Blue-tailed Damselflies, ne ovipositing in the ditch above.
June 5th: I saw a single female Banded Damselfly (Calopteryx splendens) by the River Bann a few hundred yards of Dynes Bridge c. 3 miles SE of Portadown, Co. Armagh, today. As far as I know, this is the 1st Irish record of this species so far in 2005 (I also looked for it here on 31st May without suucess) although it was recorded in numbers (25) as early as 24th April in Berkshire. Also seen was a single male Azure Damselfly. Earlier at Craigavon Lakes, North Armagh, there were 20+ Common Blue damselflies, but these were generally teneral.
June 7th: At nearly 6 pm and again about 30 minutes later, in rather dull but reasonably warm weather, I saw a male Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) at 2 separate spots among birch and willow scrub near Carrickmannan Lake and Aughnadarragh Lake, both near Saintfield, Co. Down. Azure Damselflies (Coenagrion puella) were abundant along a sheltered lane at the north end of Carrickmannan Lake, while somewhat further south a Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans), several Common Blue damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum) and a Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly (Libellula quadrimaculata) was seen, with 2 Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma numphula) at the south end of Aughnadarragh Lake.

May 28th SB Suffolk/Essex
I walked alongside the River Stour and nearby footpaths between Manningtree and the Valley House area west of Stratford St Mary. Nothing by the largely tidal reaches east of Flatford Mill, but the rest was packed with dragonflies, many busy copulating. Rough counts: 20 Banded Demoiselles; 1 early adult male Emerald Damselfly (TM051335), 2 immature female White-legged Damselflies (west of Stratford St Mary), 5 Large Red Damselflies, 2 Blue-tailed Damselflies, 4 Azure, 5 Common Blue and 20 unidentified blue damselflies from one of these two species, plus 1 Broad-bodied Chaser away from the river near Higham Hall. A pond just north of Fen Bridge was particularly busy with damselflies. Weather was fine but pretty windy.

May 30th-June 4th IJW Lancs.
Things are moving along nicely in Lancashire with myself (Ian Waller) and Terry Lally seeing a male teneral Black-tailed Skimmer at Gait Barrows on the 30th of May. I visited Highfield Moss, Golbourne and had 13+ Four-spotted Chasers including ovipositing on the 31st and on the same day at Bickershaw Colliery site saw 2 male Broad-bodied Chasers and a female. On the 3rd of June a visit to Cuerden Valley Park with Trish Mallanaphy, 30 Banded Demoiselles were found. Today (4th June) I was shown around Ainsdale Dunes by Phil Smith and in one of the scrapes managed for the Natterjack Toads we discovered 13 exuviae of Emperor.

June 3rd RG Essex
Waterhall Meadows, Essex: Four recently emerged White-legged Damselfly, many Banded Demoiselle and Large Red Damselfly, plus a few Azure and Blue-tailed Damselfly and one Four-spotted Chaser.

May 31st DS Suffolk
14:00, private pond in Woolverstone near Ipswich ovipositing Large red damselfly and Azure damselfly, one immature male Broad-bodied chaser.

May 31st RPe Glamorgan.
Forest farm, Cardiff, Glamorgan: Red-eyed damselfy - single male on yellow water lillies on the old canal north of Forest Farm. Not sure if this is a new site for this species as it's well west of the latest distribution map I've seen. The habitat is perfect for them. Also present many Azure and a few Blue-tailed damselflies.
Kennet and Avon Canal, Theale, Berkshire (same day): A two mile walk along the canal/river system just south of Theale produced 8 species of damselfly: Red-eyed damselfly (two on floating vegetation), Variable Damselfly (three confirmed identification, two adult males and one teneral male examined in the hand after releasing from a spiders web), Azure damselfy (abundant), Common Blue damselfly (common), Blue-tailed damselfly (occasional), Large red damselfly (only one seen), Banded Demoiselle (common), Beautiful
Demoiselle (frequent). I was surprised to see the latter due to the slow flow and silty bottom and wondered if the faster flow on the nearby river was supporting the population around the canal area. The area looks great for Gomphus, but needless to say i didnt see any.

May 31st VP Cambs.
Plenty of Variable Damselflies and maturing Scarce Chasers in the meadows and scrubby margins adjacent to the River Ouse at Meadow Lane gravel pits, St Ives, Cambridgeshire over the bank holiday weekend. The Scarce Chasers look particularly fine at the moment as they are all coloured a deep orange-red with dark-marked bodies.

May 31st IR N. Ireland
On a reasonably good afternoon at Montiaghs Bog NNR, Co. Antrim, today (31st May) I saw up to 5 male Irish Damselflies (Coenagrion lunulatum). 4 of these were seen flying together over a large pool and another was in an area of rough Purple Moorgrass and scrub, where I had seen a male (along with another male and a female elsewhere on the bog) on 26th May. Also seen was a male Hairy Hawker, several Large Red Damselflies, about a dozen Four-spotted Chasers, and about 30 Variable Damselflies of both sexes (there could have been an odd Azure damselfly among these).
David Nixon also reported 4 Large Red Damselflies at Aughnadarragh Lake near Saintfield, Co. Down, on 31st.

May 30th MW Montgomery.
I was treated to the unusual and somewhat gruesome spectacle of a female Red-Eyed Damselfly eating a captured male Azure Damselfly on the Montgomeryshire Canal today. I am not sure if this is recorded behaviour or not (perhaps someone can let me know?). Photographs can be seen in the Latest News section of the Montgomeryshire Dragonflies website.

May 29th MP/SP Cambs.
Deeping Lakes (Deeping St James): Scarce Chaser, Banded Demoiselle, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tail damelfly, Hairy dragonfly, Black-tailed Skimmer (female), Four-spotted Chaser.
Woodwalton Fen 29/05/2005: Red eyed damselfly, Large red damselfly, Four-Spotted Chaser, Scarce Chaser, Azure damselfly, Blue-tail damselfly, Common Blue damselfly and Hairy dragonfly.

May 28th AW Surrey
Visited new site on the top of Holmbury Hill in the village of Holmbury St Mary, Surrey. Found 10-20 Large Red Damselflies, 4 Azure Damselflies. Both a male and a female newly emerged Broad Bodied Chaser and 3 more male Broad Bodied Chasers with their distinctive blue abdomens. Returned on the 30th to see yet another newly emerged Male Broad Bodied Chaser and at least 2 fully developed males on the wing.

May 28th/29th JC Norfolk
We live near Roydon Fen in Norfolk. 2 years ago we built a very small pond and stocked it with plants from a local nursery. Last year we found some exuviae but did not manage to identify the type of dragonfly. Over the last 2 days I have seen 3 Emperor Dragonfly emerge and found 6 other empty cases. I understand some dragonflies take several years to mature so ... are we just very very lucky this year or, with this number hatching, do we have any hope of seeing more of these wonderful creatures in 2006?

May 28th TC Essex
Paid a visit to my local lake at Hylands park, Wriittle Chelmsford. White legged Damselflies were in abundance, & were probably the most common damsel to be seen. Large numbers of them were the uncoloured tenerals, but quite a number were in their adult pale blue garb.Plenty of other species were in attendance, Large Red,Common Blue, Azure, & Red eyed. Interestingly 2 smaller looking Red eyed spp? were seen, that were still teneral, uncoloured. Two Quads finished the list here.
Went on to Langford, nr Maldon Golf club, River Chelmer/Blackwater, near the locks. Again large numbers of W.l.d were present, with all the other usual smalls, plus a handful of Banded Demoiselles. The star of the show was good numbers of Scarce Chaser, in excess of 20 individuals counted. One lone female Hairy dragonfly made an appearance.
A good afternoon in Essex.

May 27th RG Essex
Another visit to the Roman River Valley. Lots more Beautiful Demoiselles. I didn't make a proper count but there must have been around 40 on the wing, greatly outnumbering the Banded Demoiselles. Also several Large Red Damselflies and a female Broad-bodied Chaser.

May 26th IR N. Ireland
After several unsuccessful searches in previous days, I finally saw the Irish Damselfly (Coenagrion lunulatum) for the first time this year, at Montiaghs Bog NNR near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, today (26th). I examined both large and small pools where at times this and other species can be abundant but saw virtually no Odonata there, perhaps because of the wind, or because the specimens were still sexually immature. The Irish Damselfly specimens were reasonably blue in colour but probably not quite fully mature). Also seen were 1 or 2 male Hairy Hawkers (Brachytron pratense) and Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) but there were probably about 20 Variable Damselflies (Ceonagrion pulchellum) and Four-spot Chasers (Libellula quadrimaculata).

May 22nd/27th EvaR Surrey/Berks
Date: 22nd of May, Staines Moor, Surrey
5 male Banded Demoiselles and 3 females. Also a male Blue-tailed Damselfly. All by the River Colne at Staines Moor.
Date: 27th of May, Silwood Park, near Ascot - Berkshire
At least 6 males of the Large Red Damselfy, some females, including 2 in tandem and 1 pair ovipositing in a small pond. 3 male Azure damselflies and 1 teneral. 1 male Blue-tailed Damselfly by the large lake.

May 22nd HC Suffolk
We visited the HQ of Suffolk Wildlife Trust at Carlton Marsh on a warm sunny, breezy day. Saw 5 male Hairy Dragonflies, some Large Red Damselflies and an abundance of Variable Damselflies in all stages of maturation from just emerged to fully coloured. No Norfolk Hawkers yet; the spring has been quite cold so the Water Soldier is a little late in pushing its leaves above the surface of the water in the ditches, so this may delay emergence ?

May 20th ATH Staffs.
Dorothy Clive Gardens, Staffordshire. May 20th. 12 female, 2 male red damsels. 2 male azure blues same day.

May 21st HC Oxon.
On the morning of Saturday 21st May we visited the Thames and the famous railway bridge at Goring. There was torrential rain until the afternoon; we didn't see any adults, but managed to collect 17 very soggy exuviae of newly emerged Club-tailed Dragonfly. Since there had been heavy rain on Friday, this meant they could have emerged a little earlier in the week. Just as well those claws on the larvae are so brilliant at hanging on!

May 22nd GavinH Kent
Sunny, but very breezy (south-westerly) 2 hour walk along a small, almost stagnant, stream in north-east Kent (TR2265) produced 1x Female Hairy Dragonfly, several male & 1x female Variable Damselflies, 5x male Azure Damselflies, and a single male Blue-tailed Damselfly. All competing with bucket-loads of Hungarian Marsh Frogs!

May 21st HJV Hants.
Itchen Valley Country Park, Hampshire, 21st May: 3 mature male, 1 female Southern Damselfly, also Large Red, Blue-tailed and Azure Damselfly and Banded Demoiselle present but hard to find in strong wind.
Also for an early date: Broad-bodied Chaser (immature male) and Large Red Damselfly at Portland Bird Observatory on 1st May, first seen on 20th April (see

May 23rd MT Northants
Today on the River Ise, several Banded Demoiselle were emerging and I collected 6 exuviae. Also present were the first Large Reds at this site, which are always 2 weeks or so later than other sites in the area. The highlight was finding an exuvia of a White-legged Damselfly, which normally emerges around the Bank Holiday weekend, so about 1 week earlier than normal. No adult was around though.

May 21st RG Essex
A good number of Beautiful Demoiselle along the Roman River Valley (EWT reserve) plus one Large Red Damselfly.

May 22nd SPG Berks.
2 Emperors emerged from a garden pond in Caversham, Reading (one day later than last year's first emergents).

May 22nd SH Leics.
Priory Water, Leicestershire - now present - Four-Spotted & Broad-Bodied Chasers, Large Red, Azure, Common Blue, Red-Eyed, Blue-Tailed & now 2 very early teneral female White-Legged Damselflies, earliest ever record on the reserve taking 10 days off the previous date.

May 21st IR N. Ireland
I was surprised to see a mature coloured male Hairy Dragonfly (or Hairy/Spring Hawker) <i>Brachytron pratense</i> resting briefly in heather close to a smallish pool covered with sphagnum moss on a small area of cut-over bog at Drumconvis near Coagh, East Tyrone, Northern Ireland (Grid Reference H9178), late in the afternoon of 21st May. The weather was bright and reasonably warm though somewhat breezy and this weather had prevailed throughout the day. This is my 1st sighting of the species in 2005, though David Nixon had seen 3 (including 2 in tandem) on 13th May.
Also seen on 21st May were 2 Four-spotted Chasers (<i>Libellula quadrimaculata</i>) on a bog at Lough Bran near Maghera, Co. Londonderry, and Large Red Damselfly (<i>Pyrrhosoma nymphula</i>), which was seen in small numbers at Lough Bran and nearby Drumlamph Wood, at Curran and Ballynahone Bogs near Maghera (latter by David Nixon) with at least 1 also at the bog at Ballinderry Bridge.

May 15th-17th GH Glos.
Sunday 15th May 2005. 5 Red Eyed Damselflies, 1 female Banded Demoiselle, loads of Common Blue Damselflies and 1 Four Spotted Chaser emerging between the stream and the lake at Lake 95. Huge numbers of Common Blue Damselflies emerging at many locations, with Four Spotted Chaser to be seen too. 2 Downy Emeralds at Swillbrook Lakes (Lakes 46/48) and Clattinger Farm (SU0193), Cotswold Water Park, Ali Swainston, Cotswold Water Park Society.
Tuesday 17th May 2005. 2 Four Spotted Chasers, several Large Red Damselflies, Blue Tailed Damselflies, Red Eyed Damselflies and Common Blue Damselflies at Lake 95, (SU 0694), Cotswold Water Park. G Harris, Cotswold Water Park Society. Please observe from footpath only; do not disturb ground-nesting birds.

May 16th GavinH London
I recorded the following species on a lovely sunny (20C) day at two tiny memorial ponds in South London's Croydon Cemetery & Crematorium (TQ3067): 4x Adult Male & 3x Immature Azure Damselflies; 2x Adult Male Large Red Damselflies; 1x Teneral Blue-tailed Damselfly.

May 14th RPe Berks.
14th May, Caversham Bridge, Berkshire - Newly emerged female Club-tailed Dragonfly seen at 2 pm on the south bank of the Thames 500 m up stream from Caversham Bridge, near Reading. Access, park at leisure centre and walk north over rough grass area and mown area to south bank or river, best area appears to be where willows and low scrub are at waters edge. Female was watched for 30 minutes. During first 20 minutes she moved little, but then opened her wings for 20 seonds 3 times at 5-minute intervals. Shortly after she made her maiden flight flying to re-settle for 10 minutes at 12 ft up in a willow. Then she flew high up across the river to disappear into the wooded area on the north bank. No other Odonata seen at the site. I also tried Goring Bridge, but despite a 3 h search found no exuviae and no sign of emerged adults. No Odonata seen at this site.

May 15th HC Cambs.
Woodwalton Fen. A gloriously sunny spring day, around 21 degrees, and the Scarce Chasers have just started emerging here. I saw 60+ tenerals on the Great Raveley drain; also saw male (teneral) and female Hairy Dragonfly, a 4-Spotted Chaser, and significant numbers of Large Red, Azure and Blue-Tailed Damselfly. Extensive clearance work carried out last year means Woodwalton is well worth a visit.

May 12th-15th IR N. Ireland
Hairy Hawker: 3 ("including 2 in tandem, then super views of both male and female separately"), seen by David Nixon at Montiaghs Bog NNR near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, on 13th May. Large Red Damselfly: 8-10 seen by me at Frosses Bog near Ballymena, Co. Antrim, on 12th May. c. 30 seen by David Nixon at Montiaghs Bog NNR near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, on 13th May, and 6 seen by him at Bohill Forest NNR near Ballynahinch, Co. Down, on 15th May. Variable Damselfly: 2 seen by David Nixon at Montiaghs Bog NNR near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, on 13th May.

May 15th FS Ayrshire
Recorded my first dragonfly of the year in Scotland at the weekend - a single male Large Red Damselfly at Corsehouse Reservoir, Ayrshire on the 15th.

May 15th AW Surrey
My first ever visit to Thursley Common today. An abundance of Large Red Damselflies, many flying in tandem. Also lots and lots of Blue Tailed. At least 10 Four Spotted Chasers around the Moat Lake and common pools. One freshly emerged inches from it's exuvia that I was able to photograph at length.

May 10th CS N. Lanarkshire
At Greenhead Moss in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, Scotland.
First sightings of the year were 10th May, where 2 Large Red Damsels were seen.

May 14th TH S. Yorks.
Old Moor Wetlands (RSPB): Four-spotted Chaser and lots of Azure Damselflies whilst looking for Dingy Skipper butterflies

May 12th VH W. Sussex
Juvenile Downy Emerald observed whilst out surveying near Ballast Hole Lake, Crawley, West Sussex during the afternoon of 12th May - Absolutely gorgeous!

May 12th DP Hants.
I saw my first Dragonfly of the year today, an immature Broad-bodied Chaser zooming around the edge of Carpenters' Down on the outskirts of Basingstoke.

May 11th MT Northants.
Four-spotted Chasers were emerging today at Ditchford, despite the morning frost. I counted 4 at various stages. One individual had two perfect wings, one crumpled and the fourth had failed to inflate. I have added a photo to the Northants website. Also seen were 4 Hairys emerging, many Red-eyed Damselflies, Azures, Blue-tails and Common Blues. Several Red-eyes appeared to be dead among the vegetation, and I was concerned that the frost had killed them off. Large Reds have been conspicuous by their absence. in recent days. On the nearby River Nene, I counted 8 male and 2 female Banded Demoiselle.

May 11th-12th IR N. Ireland
At Peatlands Park, North Armagh, on 11th (a bright and reasonably warm day though with sunshine rather hazy) there were 3 Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies and up to 10 Large Red Damselflies, and a definite teneral female Azure damselfly. I also saw a single teneral female Common Blue damselfly at Craigavon Lakes, North Armagh, later the same afternoon.
1 day after seeing my 1st Large Red Damselflies of 2005 in Northern Ireland (c. 10 at Peatlands Park in Co. Armagh) there were about 6 on Frosses Bog between Ballymena and Ballymoney. Mid-Antrim, on 12th May, though no 4-spot Chasers were seen there.

May 11th GV Oxon.
Exuviae of Gomphus vulgatissimus present this morning at Shiplake (Oxon) on River Thames.

May 9th AW W. Sussex
Visited Newbridge on the A272 between Billinghurst and Wisborough Green on 09/05/05 and was greeted by an abundance of Blue Tailed, Large Red, Azure and Common Damselflies, along with a couple of male Banded Demoiselle. A number of Large Reds were badly formed and unable to fly. No sign of a Hairy Dragonfly though which is what I was looking for.

April 28th-May7th JimA Derbyshire
The season in Derbyshire got underway on 28th April with a single Large Red from the Cromford Canal discovered by Derbyshire Dragonflies webmaster Peter White (that cost me £5). Then on Sat 7th May I found a single teneral male Common Blue and at least 20 Blue Tailed at a site in the far north east of the county. What was more exciting that day though was the glimpse of an Anisopteran, which took off at speed never to be seen again. I had a similar sighting at the same site last year on 15th May. Perhaps this year we will be able to add Hairy Dragonfly to the county list. Full details and latest records on

May 8th MT Northants.
At Wilson's Pits, there were upwards of 500 immature Azure Damselflies basking in the warm morning sun on the south-facing hedges and brambles surrounding the first lake. This site is well known for large numbers of this species, where they can outnumber the Common Blue in the early season. Both males and females were present. They were not alone though, and many immature Red-eyed Damselflies and Blue-tailed Damselflies vied with them for the sunniest spot. The odd Common Blue was present too.

May 9th TOp Cornwall
One pair of large red damselflies egg laying in Cornwall College ponds. Several broad bodied chasers egg laying. Common blues about but very sluggish.

May 8th FS Essex
Watched a single Hairy Dragonfly around the western edge of Seventy Acres Lake in Lea Valley Park, Essex yesterday (08/05/05).

May 2nd-8th GH Glos./Wilts.
Cotswold Water Park (Gloucestershire/Wiltshire).
Large Red Damselflies emerged prior to and on the 2nd May at Swillbrook Lakes, Somerford Keynes (Lakes 46/48, Cotswold Water Park). Common Blue Damselfly seen on 2nd May at Keynes Country Park, Somerford Keynes (Lake 32). Four Spotted Chasers emerged 2nd May at Swillbrook Lakes (Lakes 46/48, Cotswold Water Park).
Four Spotted Chasers, Common Blue Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly seen at Lakes 131 and 129, Fairford, Cotswold Water Park on the 8th May. 100+ Common Blue Damselflies at Lake 41, Somerford Keynes, Cotswold Water Park.
Gareth Harris/Nick Adams

May 8th TC Essex
Wake valley pond Epping Essex. Paid another visit this afternoon, & was repaid with great views of 4 freshly emerged Downy Emeralds. The first I found at 3pm, next to its exuviae. The distance they travel before emerging is surprising. This one was 2.5 meters up the trunk of a Beech tree, which was 3.5 meters away from the waters edge. A total journey of 6 meters! This was to be exceeded by the last one I found. 1.5 meters up the tree, which in turn was nearly 6 meters away from the waters edge. Total journey distance 7.5 meters!. When I had returned back, at 4.30pm, to the first one I had found, it had made its maiden flight. Also found 3 Hairy dragonfly exuviae.

May 9th IR N. Ireland
I saw my first Odonata of 2005 yesterday (7th May) at a small lake near Carryduff, Co. Down. The 1st specimen was very teneral (possibly a female) and I looked at the shape of the posterior facing lobe on the 1st thoracic segment, which looked very shallow; I therefore decided it was Coenagrion puella, the Azure Damselfly. A short distance away Julia found another which was however definitely a more mature and blue male Variable Damselfly Coenagrion pulchellum by the shape of the black wine goblet markings on the 1st abdominal segment. As I believe I have read conflicting evidence about the use of the shape to determine these 2 species I had better refrain from claiming C. puella as a definite specimen, although both often occur together and usually emerge about the same time.

May 7th ABa W. Sussex
Today 7 5 05 at Gatwick Airport a mature Male Banded Demoiselle was seen on the wing along with a Large Red Damselfly.

May 7th CI Avon
Two Broad-Bodied Chasers emerged from my garden pond (Midsomer Norton, Avon) this afternoon (7 May), joining the Large Red Damselflies, which have been emerging since 29th April.

May 7th CW Berks.
At Clayhill Brook, just west of Reading, 8 Beautiful Demoiselles were flying this morning, mostly females. Also a few Blue-tailed. This afternoon at Searles Lakes nearby, SU 688709, dozens of Variable Damselflies were in grass/nettles sheltered from the high wind. Also a few Common Blue, Azure, Red-eyed, Blue-tailed and Large Red. One male Banded Demoiselle, and one female Beautiful Demoiselle. Lastly 2 immature male Club-tailed Dragonflies, presumably from the Kennet 100 metres away.

May 7th MW Montgomeryshire
The first teneral Azure Damselflies are appearing on the Montgomeryshire Canal today. A few sparse exuviae can be seen on emergent plants close to the towpath. More details and photos on the website.

May 6th ABa Kent
Seen at Dungeness RSPB reserve on 6 5 05 were:- teneral Common Blue Damselfly, Hairy Dragonfly male.

May 3rd ME Beds.
At least 25 Four-spotted Chasers emerged from the ponds around The Lodge, Sandy, through the morning, with at least three Large Red Damselflies about too. A good selection of chasers at various stages of emergence could be seen at any one time.

May 6th CW Berkshire
Club-tailed Dragonflies have begun emerging from the Thames in Reading: one on its first flight at 15:30, another still on the river bank; also 5 exuviae, between SU 698750 and 707748, south bank, upstream from Caversham Bridge.

May 5th SH Leics.
Priory Water, Leicestershire, three species now present on the reserve. Large Red Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, & Blue-Tailed.

May 5th SHa Dorset
Lulworth Army Ranges (where I work): Lots of large red damsels and one teneral 4 spot chaser. Also 4 large red dam exuviae from my garden pond in Poole.

May 4th MT Northants
Despite the cold 11 degree temperature, wind and spots of rain (what a change from the weekend!), 4 Hairy Dragonflies were emerging at Ditchford today. I also came across my first 3 emerging Red-eyed Damselflies, a few days earlier than last year. Also seen were emerging Azure, Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselflies, all nestling away from the wind.

May 1st TC Essex
Cornmill meadows, Waltham Abbey, Essex. First trip of the season to this site, yielded a few Banded Demoiselles, Blue tailed and what I thought to be freshly emerged Azure damselflies. Didn't notice any Hairy dragonflies yet.
Also paid a quick visit to Wake valley pond Epping forest with the hope of an early Downy Emerald, but to no avail. Will try again next weekend.

April 30th ABa Surrey
On Saturday 30 4 05 a teneral Large Red Damselfly was seen at Parkgate in Surrey at approx 2 30 PM.

May 2nd JM E. Sussex
A teneral male Hairy Dragonfly was disturbed from long grass in a field near to Winchelsea. ET, JM

May 2nd NMu Bucks.
At a private site in North Bucks discovered last year I found one freshly emerged Downy Emerald perched on a dock leaf close to exuviae. Unfortunately the wings appeared damaged.

May 2nd AW Surrey
New site on private land in Holmbury St Mary, Surrey. 10-20 Large Red Teneral Damselflies on the wing with many exuvia at the waters edge. Also, what I believe to be a young Blue Tailed Damselfly.

April 30th JM Kent
A visit to a pond in the Orlestone Forest near Hamstreet, turned up masses of emerging Large red Damselflies. Later at Stodmarsh, the Lampen Wall was alive with Damselflies; Common Blues, Blue-tailed and a probable Variable. ET, JM, CC, RC

May 2nd JW W. Yorks.
A visit to South Kirkby Industrial Park produced a single Large Red Damselfly, I then moved on to the neighboring Johnny Brown's Common area where at least 7 Large Red Damselfly were present at Clayworth's Ponds were I also managed to collect 7 LRD exuvia.

May 1st GW Bucks.
Our two-year-old pond in Milton Keynes has just produced its first Large Red Damselflies. We spotted 4 adults through the day and retrieved 7 exuviae. Looking forward to the next few days as there are more larvae near the surface.

May 1st PW S. Yorks.
The first Large Red Damsels of the year emerged from my garden pond today (1st May, Sheffield). I found at least four. I think this is the same date as last year. Also Brimstone, Holly Blue, Orange-Tip and Speckled Wood.

May 1st MT Northants.
I visited three sites today, and even managed to bring the family along to the last one! At Wilson's Pits this morning, I found emerging Hairy Dragonfly, Large Red Damselfly and Azure Damselfly. The Hairy was at wings fully inflated and I took a few photos. Maybe one day I'll time it just right and get the whole sequence! I moved on to Ditchford Lakes Nature Reserve and was amazed to find 12 emerging Hairy Dragonfly, all at the same stage as the one at Wilson's Pits - talk about synchronized emergence!. I also located 12 exuviae, probably from yesterday's emergence. Also emerging were a handful of Large Reds & several Common Blues. This afternoon, we took a bike ride through the Stanwick Lakes complex, scene of last years Northants Dragonfly Group Field trip, and I promptly spotted an immature male Blue-tailed Damselfly and an emerging Hairy Dragonfly. Five species emerging made this an excellent day!

April 29th JWC W. Yorks.
The sun is out so a visit to Pontefract park after work this afternoon (29-4-05) was most rewarding with O Tips, Speckled Wood, etc on the wing. But I was surprised to see a Large Red Damselfly heading towards me off the racetrack and into the tree plantation.

April 29th JWS Berkshire
One teneral Broad-bodied Chaser and 3 teneral Large red Damselfly at Crowthorne Woods Pond. Also 5 teneral Large Red at By-Pass Pond.

April 21st-28th PT Norfolk
First Large Red Damselflies on April 21st, over 20 exuviae plus a dozen emergents. First Hairy Dragonflies on Sunday 24th April and first Four-spotted Chaser (just the one) on 28th April.

April 27th SF Northants
After recent daily monitoring of the pond at Wollaston School, near Wellingborough (SP913629), I found my first Odonata this morning. 3 Large Red damselflies observed at 08:45. One unfortunate individual had a VERY distorted abdomen, twisting around into a double loop. It's wings also seemed fused together :-( Later, at 11:35 another Large Red damselfly had emerged. This beats last year's records of LR by 2 days. A shame my students don't show some enthusiasm for one of nature's miracles!

April 24th CW Berkshire
Only hazy sunshine, but I thought it was worth looking at Reading's Foudry Brook. Although this does benefit from the comparative warmth of an urban site, there was a lot more flying than expected. Approx 25 Banded Demoiselles and just 2 Large Reds, but also 4 Blue-tails, 2 teneral male Common Blue and 3 Red-eyed Damselflies. Also surprising in a way was the absence of Azure damselflies, normally ahead of the Common Blues there.

April 24th MW Montgomery
A single teneral Large Red Damselfly has been reported by Clare Boyes at Middletown in Montgomeryshire. This record is 9 days earlier than last year's first record on May 2nd.

April 24th HC Cambs.
Castor Hanglands, Cambridgeshire; We saw 2 very teneral Large Red Damselflies on the nature reserve today - the weather was sunny but the wind quite chilly and strong - dragonflies in Peterborough at last!

April 24th SH Leics.
Priory Water, Leicestershire, 2 semi-mature and 11 teneral Large Red Damselflies were recorded on the reserve today.

22nd April RG Essex
Stow Maries Halt, Essex: A single teneral Large Red Damselfly. Personal earliest record by several days.

April 20th AW Surrey
Just wanted to report a sighting today of what I believe to be 2 Large Red Damselflies in Guildford, Surrey. They were near to a drainage ditch that runs through a field along side the River Wey. I managed to get one photo but it was out of focus and has made identification difficult. Both were disturbed in bankside vegetation. Reddish bodies with dark markings, striped thorax.

April 10th NJ Hampshire
Not sure if it is the first this year but had a Large Red Damselfly today (10 April) on my garden pond in Romsey, Hampshire.

April 2nd CW Berkshire
Banded Demoiselles at Reading's Foudry Brook today; 4 males and 2 females. Perhaps a bit TOO early, as next week's weather
forecast is for cold to return. From reports up to now then, the Large Red is going to be Number Three to emerge? How often does that happen?

March 23rd AN Bucks
I was talking to James Allen yesterday and he said that he noticed a large dragonfly in the garden. The day had been very warm, as indeed had several previous days. He lives within 1/2 a mile of Stony Stratford lakes and has a suitable pond with several such garden ponds around him. This site is very suitable and rich with Brachytron. So Hairy Hawker, a bit early then like 4/5/6 weeks!