|Common darter seen on the wing in the reedbed of Minsmere RSPB Nature
Reserve, on the Suffolk Coast, on 11th December.
|I was delighted to see a mature female common darter on Saturday 8 December - it landed on my wife's picnic basket - we were picnicking at Hasley Enclosure near the Latchmore Brook in the New Forest.|
|8 dec Seaton Valley Cornwall
1 Male Common Darter basking in glorious sun
|Reading's Thames Valley Park, Dec 7th: sunny,with the temperature at 9C;
one female Common Darter was on a sun-facing gravel slope, precisely
where the late survivors have been in the last two years. I couldn't
find the male who was there on Nov 22nd.
|Another fairly definite common darter sighting on 1.12.01 at Headcorn, Kent TQ840435 flying over farmland. It was quite mild and sunny at the time, following a long period of rain.|
|1st - 19th November||Ireland||IR et al|
|Here is a summary of observations in Ireland in November.
1st - at Peatlands Park, Co. Armagh - a rather inactive male Black Darter resting on some moss in the "Bog Garden".
|I visited RSPB Minsmere in Suffolk on Monday 26th November 2001. The weather was fine, calm and sunny, but rather cool. Still active were a common darter and a red admiral. Also a species of queen wasp still active.|
|24th November||West Sussex||JH|
|I observed a tandem pair of common darters ovipositing in a flooded ditch nr Faygate, W.Sussex, 1km sq TQ 2335.|
|18th to 28th October||Ireland||IR et al|
|Here is a summary of observations in Ireland in late October.
18th - at Montiaghs Bog near Aghalee, South Antrim - up to 30 Black Darters, including a mated pair and 1 or 2 females, male Common Hawker and up to 8 Common Darters; at Peatlands Park, North Armagh about 4 Common Darters and 6 Black Darters.
|26th October||Scilly Isles||JPM|
|26 October Porthellick Pool, St Marys, Scilly
5 Sympetrum striolatum including a pair in tandem (one male was foolish
enough to land on the back of a greenshank, which snapped it up and ate it),
1 Aeshna mixta.
|Raven Wood and Wexford Wildlife Reserve, yesterday afternoons counts (13.10.01). Had chance to pop to Raven Wood which boosted records. 51 Red Admirals (45 in a 350 metre stretch of the wood - sunning on the trees) 3 Common Darters (Raven) 8 Migrant Hawkers (3 Raven and 5 Reserve)|
|The recent mild weather on Friday 12 October 2001 sent me on a cycle ride to local dragonfly sites. Summer Leys Nature Reserve, Northampton, reasonable sightings of both Common Darter and Migrant Hawker, also, there was a brief glimpse of a 'Damselfly' type, but I cannot be certain what it was as it was at a distance. Harrold and Odell Country Park, good views of Common Darter with at least three tandem pairs ovipositing. Also, a reasonable view of a Migrant Hawker outside 'The Bell' public house in Odell. Felmersham GP, large numbers of active Common Darter and a few Migrant Hawker.|
|Mid Wales temperatures @ 70 F. Newly created pond - 5 or 6 pairs of S striolatum ovipositing into muddy shoreline. A cyanea male patrolling. Established, well vegetated pond - one L sponsa, 4 ovipositing pairs of S striolatum, one A juncea ovipositing, and one A grandis patrolling.|
|I have still to see any Odonata in Northern Ireland this month, though I did see Black Darter (Sympetrum danae) at a site in Co. Meath on 9th. However David Nixon of Ballynahinch, Co. Down, reported the following approximate numbers of 4 species of Anisoptera at Montiaghs Bog near Aghalee, Co. Antrim (J0965) on 10th October: BLACK DARTER (Sympetreum danae): c. 20. COMMON DARTER (Sympetrum striolatum): c. 6. RUDDY DARTER (Sympetrum sanguineum): 3. COMMON HAWKER (Aeshna juncea): 4 including a mating pair.|
|At Reading's Thames Valley Park , a Red-eyed Damselfly
and a Brown Hawker were still flying, together with half-a-dozen Common
Blue damselflies and of course plenty of Common Darters and Migrant
|6th to 20th September||Ireland||IR|
|MIGRANT HAWKER (Aeshna mixta) was reported at 11-12 sites in 4 counties (1 each in Kilkenny and Wicklow, 3 in Waterford and 6 or 7 in Wexford) involving TEN 10 km x 10 km. Grid Squares of the Irish Grid (S34, S60, S40, T02, T03, T10, T12, T13, T29, X69), all during the period 11th to 17th September.
BROWN HAWKER (Aeshna grandis): NORTH TIPPERARY. Ponds at Greenfield Park near Cappawhite: 2 or 3 on 10th September. 2 easterly lakes in Monaincha Bog (S1888): 1 on 19th September. KILKENNY: Lough Cullin SW of New Ross. 4-6 on 16th September.
COMMON HAWKER (Aeshna juncea): NORTH TIPPERARY. 2 lakes in Monaincha Bog (S1888): 2 on 19th September.
RUDDY DARTER (Sympetrum sanguineum): NORTH TIPPERARY: Ponds at Greenfield Park near Cappawhite on 10th September: Mated pair and 2 males. 2 easterly lakes in Monaincha Bog (S1888): 5 or 6 on 19th September.
BLACK DARTER (Sympetrum danae): NORTH-EAST GALWAY. Cloonascragh Bog SE of Ballinasloe (M8726): 1 male on 20th September. COUNTY LAOIS: Moanavaw/Aghnahily Bog east of Portlaoise (S514983). 1 male on 19th September. COUNTY ROSCOMMON: Bog beside Cranberry Lough SW of Athlone (M914335): 1 male on 20th September. COUNTY LONGFORD: Bog at Clonca east of Edgeworthstown (N3173): 3 or 4 males on 20th September.
EMERALD DAMSELFLY (Lestes sponsa): COUNTY LAOIS. Little Bog Lough east of Portlaoise (N526012): 3 on 19th September
Brown Hawker was also seen in South-east Galway, Clare, Wexford, Wicklow, Kildare, North Tipperary, Westmeath and Laois, Common Hawker in Co. Clare, Ruddy Darter in South-east Galway, Waterford, Wexford, Laois, and Dublin, and Black Darter in Co. Clare (on blanket bog between Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna) & South Tipperary.
Also seen during the period were Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) in South-east Galway, Clare, South Tipperary, North Tipperary, Wicklow, Laois, Kildare and Dublin, Emerald Damselfly in South-east Galway, Clare, Waterford, and Wexford, Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) in Co. Clare, and Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) in Co. Clare & Co. Waterford.
Finally, on 24th September at Navan Quarry near Armagh, County Armagh, there were about 6 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum (2 of which appeared teneral), about 6 Emerald damselfly Lestes sponsa (all males), one male Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum and one Common Hawker Aeshna juncea, and a possible Brown Hawker Aeshna garndis. This does seem to be a site where Odonata fly late as I found a single male Enallagma cyathigerum there on 5th and 11th October and 1ST NOVEMBER 1998, on the latter date along with Sympetrum striolatum, which was also seen the same day (not especially mild, with probably early ground frost) along with Black Darter Sympetrum danae at Peatlands Park, North Armagh. This was as far as I know the first record of a damselfly in the British Isles in November, though one was recorded in SW England (Cornwall I think) on 2nd November in 1999.
|Brockworth, Gloucester, 12 noon, intermittent sunshine between the clouds, a light breeze and
temperature around 18C in the sun. A little late burst of sunshine had both
S. striolatum and S.sanguineum in a last ditch mating frenzy. About 10
pairs of each to be seen dipping. Many lone males trying to break up
existing pairs. A female Southern Hawker ovipositing in moss for over half
an hour, working her way over the moss patch probing and laying. The
ovipositor was very clearly visible and was caught on camera.
All in all, a good year on our pond. New species appearing (Black Tailed
Skimmer) and one of last years (Ruddy Darter) confirmed as breeding.
2001's list stands at;
Common Darter, Ruddy Darter (huge increase in numbers this year), Southern
Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Broad Bodied Chaser, Black tailed Skimmer,
Azure Damsel, Large Red Damsel and Blue tailed Damsel. All but the Skimmer
now confirmed as breeding.
|Out to the site pond at noon. Weather a breezy but pleasant 20C. Sun
disappearing periodically behind clouds.
3 male Southern hawkers, one quartering the pond and 2 cruising the tree
tops. Often chasing butterflies but not seen to take any. Occasional
encounters between the three make for some brief but spectacular
25 plus S. striolatum and similar numbers of S. sanguineum. Several
copulating pairs of striolatum perched on the wooden fence.Multiple dipping
pairs (10 plus) of both species harried often by the Southern Hawker and by
S. sanguineum males (this seems to be common behaviour in the Ruddy
One Migrant Hawker (male) perching on willow 10 yards from the pond.
A few Blue Tailed Damsels remain.
|Summer Leas, Northampton
Good views of large numbers of Migrant hawkers and Common darters, some of the latter were in tandem. A few Common blue damselfly still on the wing and the odd Brown hawker. The nearby mill stream still had Banded demoiselle flitting over the water, together with the aforementioned dragonfly.
|I have a male Southern Hawker at my garden pond in West Cumbria at NY036106.|
|The latest sightings for E. viridulum indicate that it has progressed well
inland. It has been recorded at Priory park near Bedford and Sundon Quarry
near Luton. There is also a report from Pitstone Fen near Tring. It is well
worth scrutinizing all red eyed damselflies. The favoured habitat of
viridulum still appears to be lakes and ponds with masses Hornwort and
|Emberton Park, Olney. Clear skies with almost no wind, about 24 deg C. Damselflies: Blue-tailed, Common Blue, a single male White-legged. Banded Dem wasn't seen, very unusual to be absent here at this time of year. Dragonflies: Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker which seems to be doing very well this year, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Common Darter.|
|On a walk out to Old Harry Rock, nr. Studland, Dorset, I saw a Hawker sp. hunting along the footpath that dissects a small copse. It pitched on some ivy just above head height giving good views. It turned out to be a male Aeshna cyanea - but with all the abdominal markings that are usually apple green being the same blue as the last (fused) pairs of spots. The thoracic markings were the usual bright green. I have seen accounts of this colour variation before but this is the first time I have encountered it myself. I hope this is of some interest.|
|Out on the Preselis yesterday (23rd August 2001) and saw a single male Coenagrion mercuriale at a known site. In pristine condition and not a tatty old example, but must be a very late individual (Brooks states that the flight period lasts until beginning of August). Other individuals of this species had been seen two days previously.|
|Blue Lagoon, Bletchley. Partly cloudy with a southerly breeze, about 22 deg C. Damselflies: Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Emerald. No red-eyed seen in MK since late June! Dragonflies: Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Common Darter. No Emperors to be seen. They are usually very common at this site.|
|Woughton and River Ouzel, Milton Keynes. Hot and sunny with clear skies and a light breeze. Damselflies: Blue-tailed, Common Blue, White-legged still ovipositing on Water Crowfoot in river, many Emerald dams in and around the Ox-bow lakes, Banded Demoiselle on the River. Dragonflies: Common Darter, Ruddy Darter (good numbers), Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker.|
|15th August||Co. Durham||PB|
|Small pond ( 20' x 20' ) on the edge of a large petrochemical complex. 5 Emperor plus one paired wheeled. 10+Ruddy Darter ( I think ). At
least three species of damselfly, too numerous to count.
|On August 14th nearly 300 Small Red-eyed Damselflies appeared in Norfolk for
the first time. Over 100 were found on the pools in Winterton Dunes and
about 170 a few miles further north at a private site. Ovipositing was
observed at both locations, so a careful watch will be kept in future years.
Numbers dropped rapidly at both sites, but some individuals were still
present at Winterton over a week after the original invasion.
|After 3 days of cold wet weather it was nice to be able to get out to the
site pond in the lunchbreak, camera in hand. Warm(ish) and sunny at noon
with resulting good level of activity.
Our resident male Emperor wasn't around, but it maybe remained a little
cool but pleased to report 4 females observed ovipositing so far in the
last couple of weeks. 3 male Southern Hawkers flying around the tree tops
and one finally decided to rest up for a while on a thistle and posed
superbly for a dozen photos. 30 plus Common Darters and not far short of
that number for the Ruddy Darter. Ruddys only confirmed here last week
(thank you George), but seem to be increasing at a great rate. Still not
sure if they are breeding, but did photograph a male Ruddy trying to mate
with a female Common. She wasn't interested but he was hanging on for grim
As for damsels, the Large reds have now gone. There are a few Azures still
around but the predominant species now is the Blue Tailed Damsel. Still
dozens about and many ovipositing pairs to be seen. Always amazing to
watch, with the males standing erect above the female supported only by
claspers and looking like periscopes.
|Both Lestes dryas and
Somatochlora arctica have been seen in Southern Ireland. The former was seen
in numbers at a known site, Ballyvelaghan Lough in the north of the Burren,
and 2 were seen at a new site, Dromore Forest, also in Co. Clare; both
observations being by Brian Nelson on 6th August. This now means that all
resident Irish Odonata species have been seen this year, along with both
Emperor (Wicklow, Wexford and Cork) and Lesser Emperor (Wicklow and
Sympetrum danae was seen in large numbers on 3rd August at Montiaghs Bog
|July 23rd and August 1st, on my local patch near Wilmslow in Cheshire, I recorded the following counts: July 23rd: S. striolatum, 27; S. sanguineum, 1; Aug 1st: S. striolatum, 46; S. sanguineum, 44. As most of the sanguineums were mature males there is more than a hint of an immigration. Does this correlate with anyone else's surveys?|
|Lee Valley Country Park - Sewardstone Pits. This was an extremely hot day and a short walk after climbing a gate produced the following:
5 Small Red-eyed Damselflies,
15 Red-eyed Damselflys,
2 Emperor Dragonflys,
10 Brown Hawkers,
2 Common Darters,
1 Four-spotted Chaser,
1 Southern Hawker,
|A Lesser Emperor was seen this afternoon at the Marazion
RSPB reserve near
Penzance in Cornwall.
|27th July||N. Ireland||IR|
|On 27th July, during a visit to The Rocks Quarry at Farmacaffly on the outskirts of Armagh, I saw a mating pair and possibly about 8-10 other Ruddy Darters (Sympetrum sanguineum), both sexes being in about equal numbers. Males were a fairly deep red and females a bright yellow and must have been out for some days. This is the first record I know of for Northern Ireland I know of this year, though it was seen by Brian Nelson earlier in Co. Cavan, I believe about the end of June.|
|Pitsford reservoir, Brixworth country park pond. A number of families were pond dipping and fishing out small newts and damselfly larvae. A female Southern Hawker was ovipositing on almost anything above the waterline, including a pushchair! The pond was buzzed by a Brown Hawker and as the temperature rose a male Emperor set up territory, keeping the larger dragonflies away. There were a few Common Blue damselfly, some of which were in tandem.|
|Moulton Park Industrial Estate waste ground, the damselfly population is much smaller with a few Common Blue and Blue Tailed. There were 6 Brown Hawkers hunting over the nettles/thistles on the embankment and two male Emperors defending territory at each of the ponds. The Common Darters have emerged but are hiding in the wooded area.|
|22nd July||N. Ireland||IR|
|On 22nd July I saw 2 or 3 Black Darters (still yellow) at Drumanacabranagher bog (sic!) east of Florencecourt, Co. Fermanagh, the first Irish record I know of for 2001, though no doubt they have been out for some days somewhere, if not observed. All 17 of the Northern Ireland resident Odonata have now been seen, while Cordulia aenea, Calopteryx virgo, and Orthetrum cancellatum have been seen in 1 or more counties of the Irish Republic, and the Emperor Anax imperator in Co. Wicklow, Cork and especially Wexford. This still leaves Lestes dryas and Somatochlora arctica among the 22 normally resident Irish Odonata species still to be reported.|
|A trip to the The National Dragonfly Biomuseum was reasonably good considering the variable weather. Common Blue and Blue Tailed damselfly, and Banded Demoiselle in good numbers. Brown Hawker and Common Darter were also evident in reasonable numbers.|
|DuPont A&TS Factory Brockworth Gloucester. July 2001
Not your usual hot news from a nature reserve or SSSI. The factory site
Current breeding species are, Azure Damsel (more than we can count), Blue
One of the main aims of the project, outside of the obvious increasing in
This isn't in itself 'hotnews' but I hope it serves as an introduction to
|Prior to the welcome event for Charlotte Murray, the BDS new Conservation Officer, the assembled guests were taken on a short tour of the Lee Valley Dragonfly Sanctuary by the Lee Valley Park rangers. during the tour we saw male and female Emperor Dragonfly, Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Common Blue, Azure, Blue-tailed, White-legged and Red-eyed Damselflies. Also found were nymphs identified (tentatively) as Southern Hawker and Migrant Hawker.|
|Several weeks ago, unconfirmed reports came of larvae of the Irish Damselfly Coenagrion lunulatum from 2 new sites in Northern Ireland (1) An unnamed lake near Forkhill in South Armagh (2) Cloghcor Lake near Clogher, Co. Tyrone.
On 8th July I visited Cloghcor Lake, which was somewhat similar in size and vegetation (also with both water lily species, etc). At least half a dozen Lestes sponsa were seen (my first of the year), while Enallagma cyathigerum was numerous at the southern and eastern end, with some C. pulchellum and I. elegans and at least one C. puella. Finally a single mature male Coenagrion lunulatum was found among many other blue male damselflies (only a very few females were seen).
This also makes 3 new colonies discovered in Ireland this year (it was recorded at Wood Lough near Dungannon, Co. Tyrone and a small lake in Co. Cavan), while in 2000 2 other new sites were recorded in Co. Tyrone (Creggan Lough and Lough Nanallog). For details see the Dragonfly Ireland Website at http://www.dragonflyireland.fsnet.co.uk/news2001.htm (for 2001) and http://www.dragonflyireland.fsnet.co.uk/news.htm
On 6th July, after drawing a blank on 28th June, I recorded the Keeled Skimmer at its only site in Co. Armagh. For the first time I saw females at the site and indeed with 5 or 6 seen, and similar numbers of males, this is the most I have seen at the site, where single males were seen in 1998, 2 in 1999 and about 6 in 2000. The males were varying shades of blue and the females yellowish brown, hence fairly mature, but no mating or ovipositing was seen.
Also seen, surprisingly, was a single Aeshna grandis (presumably a stray); Aeshna juncea was seen on 3 occasions but it could have been the same individual. There were also 3 Pyrrhosoma nymphula.
I had also seen about 15 teneral O. coerulescens at Leitrim near Hilltown in the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down. on 22nd June. I also saw 4 or 5 teneral Sympetrum striolatum in a gravel pit near Kilkeel, Co. Down, the same day. With the sighting of Lestes sponsa on 8th July, this leaves only Sympetrum sanguineum and Sympetrum danae to be recorded among Northern Ireland resident Odonata this year (the former has been reported in Southern Ireland), with Somatochlora arctica & Lestes dryas also to be recorded from Southern Ireland though both should be out by now if looked for. Emperor dragonflies have been reported again from Southern Ireland this year, in numbers at a site in Co. Wexford where they were seen last year, and singly from single sites in Cos. Cork and Wicklow.
| 16:40 06/07/01 In Herts/Bucks a male Red-veined Darter is present at
Pitstone No. 2 quarry, 2 miles northeast of Tring.
|I spent the afternoon around Crockford Bridge and Hatchett Pond
in the New Forest yesterday and the place was absolutely alive
with drags. Simply lost count of Southern, Azure, Small Red and
Large Red Damselflies, although Southern outnumbered Azure by
about 3:1 and Small Red outnumbered Large Red by about 4:1. there
were simply hundreds of damselflies - the majority of them
recently emerged with very shiny wings. 40+ Beautiful Demoiselles
across both sites. Our only surprise was not a sniff of Scarce
Blue-tailed Damselfly, but about 30+ Common Blue-tailed seen at
Of the large drags, Keeled Skimmer was again present in
Also on the wing large numbers of Silver-studded Blues, several
|A hot, humid day forced me out of my comfortable, air-conditioned office to look for Odes at my favourite site in MK, Howe Park Wood. There was good activity on all the ponds, particularly the pond nearest the car park. A few dozen Four-spotted Chasers were vying for space over the water and I saw my first Emperor Dragonflies of the year, both males and females (ovipositing) and staking their claim to be the biggest bullies around! Male and female Broad-bodied Chasers were seen on the top and bottom pond, pairing and ovipositing. Two Brown Hawkers flew over, quite high, towards the wood. There was also one, fairly newly emerged, female Common Darter and 3 male Black-tailed Skimmers. Damselflies included Azure, Large Red and Blue-tailed, but no Common Blues were seen.|
|2nd July||Notts.||SC & PS|
|Monday 2nd July : Forbes Hole Nature reserve, Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire
(all seen in 1 hour visit - nice viewing area close to car park).
Male and Female Broad Bodied Chaser (female ovipositing),
Common Blue Damselfly,