Sightings - Late 2003

This page contains Sightings sent to the BDS between July and December 2003. You can also go to 2002's Sightings or back to the Sightings Archive page.

12th November Somerset MF
I photographed a male Common Hawker at Stock Hill, nr. Priddy on the Mendip hills in Somerset OS ref. approx ST547515, on the 12th November 2003. It was making short flights and basking on the bare trunks of pines with wings vibrating to keep warm. Weather was dry, sunny but cold.


27th November Glos. MJJ
27th November 2003 Brockworth Gloucester

Today, at around 12.30 I found a male Common Darter sunning himself on the fence behind the pond here. This despite the fact it was several degrees below freezing over night, with ice still on the pond at lunchtime and my breath distinctly visible in the air. The specimen was mature, in good condition and suggested an emergence of not much more than a couple of weeks ago. This record is two weeks later than any I've had before in 5 years of recording here. He seemed surprisingly active, taking off and hovering several times before settling again each time on the sunny side of the fence. He even posed for his picture.


18th November Hampshire RF
I saw a Southern hawker today (18-11-2003) in a Garden wildlife Pond in NE Hampshire. I'm quite new to Dragonflies but I believe this is a particularly unusual date for this species? The sighting was verified by another observer, and was interestingly in the Garden of the BDS secretary. Though I don't know if he caught up with it, I gather it would have been his latest record of the species.


15th November Essex TO
Langdon Hills Nature Reserve, Basildon, Essex. One Common Darter at Location TQ665875 on 15th November.


14th November Essex RG
At least a dozen common darter, including tandem pairs, at Woodholme Nursery, Stock. A good number of insects so late in the year.


12th November Devon PB
Mid-day Wednesday 12th November around the lakeside ponds at Stover Country park I was shocked to find one pristine male southern hawker which suggests a very late emergence. This is the latest recorded sighting in the Park to date. Still 100+ male common darters holding territory with 30+ females ovipositing. Firsts and lasts for the Park will follow soon.


7th November N. Ireland IR
7th November was a sunny and extremely mild day, with the temperature reaching 60 deg. F. or so in North. I was hopeful of seeing Common and/or Black Darter resting on the boardwalk in the Bog Garden in the Peatlands Park, North Armagh as I had seen 2 males of each there on 20th October, a much cooler day; however despite 2 separate visits none were seen. However I did see a male Common Darter, whose wings appeared to be in very good condition, resting on rhododendon leaves beside a pond near Annagarriff Wood some distance further north in the Peatlands Park. This is the only dragonfly I have heard of in November in Northern Ireland, though Ken Bond reports a "Red or Ruddy Darter" in Sussex on 6th November, presumably a Common Darter.

This is I think the 6th year in a row since 1998 that 1 or more Odonata species have been seen in Northern Ireland in November, the latest being 10th November 2001 when Black Darter and probably Common Darter were seen, both in Co. Armagh. (On 1st November 1998 I also saw a sinlgle male Common Blue Damselfly in good condition in Co. Arnagh, and in 1975 saw a Common Hawker on 3rd November in Co. Londonderry).


29th October Hereford CWells
Seen at a restored sand and gravel pit near Hereford, this morning (291003) a single Sympetrum fonscolombii - Red-veined Darter.
Two were seen on 271003 at same location.


27th October Hants. SKW
No idea how late these are - but there were still 6+ Common Darters on the wing this morning, with frost on the ground, at Eyeworth Pond, New Forest, Hants.


27th October Beds. BS
Today, at a smallish pond at Pulloxhill in South Bedfordshire, 2 pairs of Common Darter in cop and a single male.


18th October Derbyshire JimA
What has been an excellent year for Dragoning in Derbyshire still continues with no less than 5 species still on the wing into the middle of the month. On the 18th of October S.striolatum, S.danae, A.cyanea and L.sponsa were all recorded with the latest A.Juncea only 3 day previous. The records for danae and cyanea beating previous latest dates by over a week whilst the sponsa records top the previous best by a clear month. It is almost certain too that A.mixta''s will also still be around, but are just proving a little more illusive to the bleary eyed, end of season Odonatists in the county. These late records round off nicely what has been a very good year with record counts for E.najas, the counties 2nd record for S.fonscolombii and 3 records of the praenubila L.quadrimaculata, for which there was only one previous county record.


23rd October Northants MT
Today was rather cold (8 degrees) and windy, but bright and sunny so I thought a quick visit to Stanwick Gravel Pits was well deserved. Not to disappoint, the first male Common Darter was spotted nestling in some overgrown grass. At first I thought it looked like a Ruddy Darter as the legs appeared dark, even in close up (he was rather sluggish), the usual yellow stripe was not visible. This may be down to a general darkening of the colours as the adult matures - the thorax exhibited the usual (though darkened) brown and black pattern, with brown eyes. Further on, 10 more males and 2 females were seen in much more active mode than the first male - 3 males were clashing quite merrily on one of the paths. A total of 13 is not bad for this late in the season. No Migrants were in evidence.


21st October Essex TO
Tuesday 21st October 2003 2pm. Pitsea, Essex
Weather: sunny no breeze
Location: TQ738863 Pitsea Country Park, Basildon, Essex. Sheltered woodland pond.
1 male Migrant Hawker in good shape though seemed to shiver every few seconds when at rest. A pair of Common Darter Ovipositing. 2 more male Common Darters.


18th October Norfolk C&LE
At Wells Woods yesterday 18th October one Migrant Hawker, one ruddy darter and three darter sp were noted. At Titchwell R.S.P.B. reserve at least 4 Migrant Hawker were noted and an unidentified pair of darter were noted in tandem and ovipositing. Too far away for positive id.


20th October N. Ireland IR
Despite a slight air frost today (20th), itself following a ground frost on 18th/19th October, there are still a few dragonflies about. I visited the Bog Garden in Peatlands Park in North Armagh in mid afternoon, and although the sun had more or less disappeared and it was in fact rather cold, a male Black Darter was soon disturbed from the boardwalk and soon flew off out of reach. Another male was seen some distance away and allowed itself to be filmed, while 2 male Common Darters were also seen at rest. All 3 appeared to have wings in good condition. Of course, this is not exceptionally late as both species have been seen in November in recent years.


13th&16th October Devon/Scillies AP
After a period of quiet, the recent easterly winds seem to have brought a few end-of-season migrants. A pair of Red-veined Darters was at Prawle Point, S. Devon on 16/10 (V. Tucker), and there is a report of one from St Agnes, Scilly Isles on 13/10. One was also found dead on board a ferry in the English Channel in early October. It's been quite an eventful year


11th October Cumbria CliveG
Southern Hawker observed (and photographed) ovipositing around garden pond at Kirkoswald, Eden Valley, North Cumbria on Saturday 11th October 2003 They have bred in the pond for the last three years, but I have never observed such a late visit.


11th October Northants DS
Saturday 11 October 2003 at Summer Leys, Northamptonshire.

There were a number of dragonflies, flying due to the unseasonal warm weather. Approximately 15 Migrant Hawker, including one female and 4 or 5 Ruddy Darter. Around 10 Common Darter, including a tandem pair, one looked a bit ragged when I arrived and had died by the time I left.
I will check again later in the week when the suns out again.


29th September Northants MT
A quick visit to the River Ise over lunch produced the first male Southern Hawker seen there this year. I recorded an oviposting female last year, but have not seen males in territory. I hope that this signals the start of a new breeding species on this stretch of the river - next year should show the emergence of the eggs laid in 2002 if breeding has been successful. Also on show: 2 male Migrant Hawkers; 9 Common Darters with 5 pairs oviposting and 2 pairs copulating. The Migrants and Darters were clashing, especially as the Darters entered the Migrant's territory, although the Southern Hawker appeared to hunt unmolested.


19th September W. Yorkshire JG
Walton Golf Course Pond, Walton Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Plenty of migrant hawkers
Ruddy darter in good numbers
Blue-tailed damselfly c.8
Black Darter c.8


9-15 September Cambs. DS
Some interesting late season lunchtime sightings at Ferry Meadows:

9 September 2003 Migrant Hawkers in abundance, male and female Southern Hawkers and a few Brown Hawkers, Common and Ruddy Darter, some in tandem. One male Blue-tailed damselfly, one male Banded Demoiselle, three male Common blue damselfly.

12 September 2003 Migrant Hawker, Common Darter and one lonely male Red-eyed Damselfly on a lily pad in the river.

15 September 2003 Migrant Hawker, two males caught in the same spider's web, desperately trying to get out, Common Darter, one on a high sunny perch in the woodland, 3 tandems pairs ovipositing in the flood ponds, and one male Ruddy Darter sunning itself on the path.


30th August Nothumberland HTE
A single female specimen of Lesser Emperor was watched at close range for several minutes at rest on Bur-weed at the edge of a pond at Kittythirst, north west Northumberland on Sat 30th August. The site is only a few hundred metres from the Scottish Border, at the side of the old North British Railway line some 400m south of Deadwood Station. This is the first record for this county, although several were seen in Co. Durham in 2000. Other species present included Common Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Common blue Damselfly and Emerald Damselfly, Black and Common Darters. The pond was created several years ago as part of a pond making scheme instituted by the Forestry Commission.

Harry Eales BDS County Recorder for Northumberland and Durham.


14th September W. Yorkshire JW
A walk around the Johnny Browns Common area, between Upton and South Kirkby in West Yorkshire, produced large numbers of Common Darter and Migrant Hawker along with 4 Brown Hawker, 20+ Ruddy Darter, 1 male Southern Hawker, 6 Common Blue Damselfly and 4 Emerald Damselfly.


12th September Berkshire JWS
At Swinley Brick Pits, East Berkshire, a late Four-spotted Chaser was on the wing. It was a mature male, holding territory over water.

Its wings were pristine indicating that it had only recently emerged. Eight other species were flying, including a pair of ovipositing Small Red Damsels.


3-7th September Cumbria DC
This season has brought the first ever records of Migrant Hawkers from northern Cumbria. At least two were first identified at the RSPB North Plains Farm reserve on the Solway Firth (NY1961) by Norman Holton and Dave Blackledge on 3rd September. Sightings continued up to 7th. These are some 100 km north of previous records of this species from the county, which so far have otherwise been from the southern fringes, from Grange-over-Sands to Walney Island.


28th August Bucks. GHM
Walton Lake, Milton Keynes - A few minutes observing at the new boardwalk found a few Migrant Hawker, 1 female and 1 male Common Darter, 2 male Ruddy Darters and a female Southern Hawker ovipositing about 10-20 cm above the water level.


22nd August Lancs. PM
The last Red-veined Darter sighting at Middleton Industrial Estate was a worn male on 22/8. No sign of any tenerals resulting from fast development in the warm weather.


24th August Devon DSm
At least 3 male Red-veined Darters around the northernmost pool at Smallhanger (Drakelands), but no sign of Lesser Emperors. Still a few Small Red Damselflies and Keeled Skimmers, plus single Four-spotted Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer.


16th August Norfolk S&SP
Winterton Dunes - 2 Common Hawkers seen at different pools. We did not think that they occurred here, however, we saw another person who was photographing a perched one. This person confrimed that they are at this site.


17th August Suffolk S&SP
Visit to Needham Lake on a sunny afternoon produced some Small red-eyed damselflies. Some paired up and copulating. Also on same piece of water were Red-eyed damselflies, blue-tailed and common blue. Brown hawkers and common darters.
The Small red-eyed was a new species for us. Thanks to RR for the details of this site posted 29th July.


16th August Lancs. PM
Middleton Ind. Est. new pond
Still four male Red-veined Darters today amongst lots of Common Darter. No ovipositing females/tandem pairs since first week of August.


14th August Ireland HH
Today at Lough Aderra (Co.Cork), there were very few dragonflies at the western end, due mainly to the fact that there was quite a fresh NE wind. Nevertheless, I added Emerald Damselfly to my own personal site list, and had a few Ruddy and Common Darters, also a Four-spotted Chaser.
Due to the fact that it would presumably be more sheltered, we (Iain Hill and I) went to the western end (where the fishing boats are kept). We quickly found another 2 Four-spotteds, and 2-3 Black-tailed Skimmers, with a male Emperor seen patrolling a small area. A brief view was then obtained of a dragonfly flying away from us: due to what I perceived to be a hint of sky blue, I thought that it must be a BT Skimmer, despite the flight being a bit odd. As we watched this insect, it turned around, revealing that it was, in fact, a hawker-type on structure.
It then became apparent that the blue colouration was confined to a band on the upper abdomen: my first Lesser Emperor! (I may take this opportunity to say that Iain had seen what he considered to have been a Lesser Emperor at Ballyvergan on Monday 11th, but despite the good views he was reluctant to claim it as such without others backing up the ID. I went there on 12th and only had a male Emperor. After seeing this, he realised that the insect he had seen on 11th WAS a Lesser).
We then waited until a few local observers arrived, and Denis O'Sullivan was first on the scene. Imagine our surprise when, as we watched the Lesser, it was chased off by a similarly-sized insect, which proved to be a second male Lesser Emperor!
All those who went down saw at least one of the Lessers, and we later obtained excellent views of one (and an Emperor) at rest through a zoom eyepiece at approx.50x! All features observed (brownish thorax, blue limited to 2 segments of abdomen, dark on the rest of the abdomen (dark olive-brown), green eyes), but strangely there didn't seem to be a noticable yellow band at the base of the blue patch.
2 male Emperors seen at Ballyvergan also.


10th August Devon DSm
George - 2 recent bits of Devons news
Smallhanger (Drakelands), Devon, 10 August 2003, (Via DSm)
Vic Tucker and others confirmed 2 male Lesser Emperors and a Migrant Hawker - both new species for the site. There were also 2 Red-veined Darters and small numbers of Small Red and Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies on the same date.
South Huish Marsh, Devon, Early August, (Via DSm)
During an exceptional, privileged visit out onto the marsh, Jason Mitchell confirmed 10-20 Red-veined Darters, including some mating and egg-laying: the first suggestions of breeding for the county. Occasional Red-veined have been seen at the fringe of the site, but please do not enter onto the site.


13th August Yorks. PollyB
We have refurbished a lagoon against the River Aire in Leeds both structurally and in terms of planting - the work was completed about 18 months ago. It is at Victoria Quays, Navigation Walk, off Dock Street in Leeds City Centre. We are delighted to report that the local wildlife is enjoying the benefits of our work,and we have so far identified 3 different species of dragonfly and one damselfly on the lagoon.
We are sure we have a Black Darter, and we think we have a Common Darter and a Red Veined Darter. We think the damselfly is either the Common Blue, Blue Tailed, or Azure Damselfly. We have thoroughly enjoyed identifying these insects with the help of your website, and will keep you informed of any further developments. If any dragonfly spotters are in the area, we would be very interested to know if you agree with our identifications!


10th August Hants. RRob
10th August 2003 - Dockens Water, North West of Cadnam's Pool, New Forest, Hampshire (SU221124); a very hot day (the hottest on record in the UK!), no cloud and almost no wind. The following Odonata were observed over a one hour period:
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) - hundreds seen, some in tandem and ovipositing.
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) - a few seen.
Black Darter (S. danae) - one male on vegetation
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) - 8 males and 2 females.
Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa) - one pair in tandem and one female.
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) - about 20.
Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum) - 2 seen.
Blue Tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) - 6 seen.
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) - about 20 seen, a few in tandem and ovipositing.
Golden-Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) - one male seen.


9th August Northants MT
Returning from the local shops with our Saturday night nibbles (about 1945hrs), I came across a swarm of about 30 Migrant Hawkers in a feeding frenzy around two ants nest outside my house. The ants were flying, but I don't hold out much hope of many making it through!! An amazing sight to see.
During the day at Stanwick Gravel Pits (about 1 mile away and the probable home of the Migrants), I came across:
A lone Four-spotted Chaser oviposting.
Many Common Blue Damselflies oviposting
Good numbers of both Brown and Migrant Hawkers patrolling their territories and around the woods
Several Ruddy and Common Darters
A few remaining Red-eyed Damselflies


4th-6th August W. Sussex JH
Some of the more notable records for the Crawley area (W. Sussex) during 4-6 Aug have included patrolling male brilliant emeralds at Foxhole Pond TQ231336, Douster Pond SSSI TQ245342 and The Hyde Pond (Handcross) TQ247298. Red-eyed damselflies have been seen at The Mount fishing pond, Ifieldwood TQ228375, Hammer Pond (Mannings Hth) TQ219289 inc mating pairs, as well as Douster Pond and The Hyde Pond. These have been carefully scrutinised for small red-eyed but none has so far been located. White-legged damselflies seem to be maintaining the generally small populations noted at sites in the mid 1990s and were seen at Hammer, Douster and The Hyde Ponds. An unexpected surprise at The Hyde Pond today (6th) was a male golden-ringed dragonfly perching on reed stems and chasing wasps, damselflies and even the local brown hawkers! At Stafford Bridge (Ifield) TQ253385 a small population of beautiful demoiselles is present.


5th August Lancs. PM
I was counting Red-veined Darters (6 males, one tandem pair) amongst c100 Common Darters over the Middleton Industrial Estate new pond (Heysham, Lancs) when a male Beautiful Demoiselle flew past me along the shoreline. For a few seconds I was questioning the content of last nights new guest beer! This is miles away from known breeding sites and in the wrong habitat, the only common denominator being the word 'water'.

I have since found out that two very reliable observers had a male Beautiful Demoiselle for 15 minutes in a St Annes (south Blackpool) garden during the last hot easterly spell in mid-July.

Is there any history of accidental records away from breeding sites with this species? Please contact pbmarsh@btopenworld.com Many thanks.


4th August Northants MT
After a change in the weather for the weekend, the family and I visited Brigstock Country Park. There are two good ponds here, The Reedy Pond and the Long Pond, although the latter had dried up considerably since June - hopefully not to the detriment of the Emperor and Four-spotted Chaser nymphs expected to inhabit the pond after females were seen oviposting there in June. On this visit we saw:
Southern Hawker - up to 15 were seen around the ponds and surrounding woods
Migrant Hawker - None seen around the ponds, but many in the woods
Emerald Damsely - a couple of males seen in amoungst the reeds
Common Darter - many seen around the Reedy Pond with several pairs oviposting, one emerging and males clashing with....
Ruddy Darter - About 8 males seen in total.
Azure, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies - several seen although not great numbers

I collected about 25 Darter exuvia and keyed them out to be about 50% Ruddy and 50% Common Darter. Not an easy task as the differences are subtle.


2nd August Kent DP
I visited Cliffe Pools on Saturday. On the right of the entrance track there's a drainage ditch that contained a number of common damselflies and darters but also two Small Red-eyed Damselflies in cop and ovipositing. The ditch is on the right just after you pass some grain silos (on the left) and the damsels were near to where a rusty drainage pipe crosses it (TQ733768 or thereabouts). I met a volunteer warden at the site and he said they had not been reported at this site before. In addition to this sighting, I had one Migrant Hawker on the approach road and at least three Scarce Emerald Damselflies on the small pools and ditches on the old firing range. I also saw two Clouded Yellows by the sea wall.


3rd August Lancs. PM
Still up to 8 male and one female Red-veined Darters at Middleton Industrial Estate new pond, near Heysham, Lancs. One or two are starting to look worn, otherwise the rest look relatively fresh and are holding their territories in competition with increasing numbers of Common Darters. Good instructive comparisons with the latter and after two years and c1hr/sunny day for 1 5months, I reckon there is no problem telling Common from Red-veined in flight sillhouette over water due to subtle but obvious differences in flight mode & 'jizz'.


2nd August N. Ireland IR
Today (2nd August) I saw a single male Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) in an area of flushes in moorland just south of the Red Moss River ar Sandy Brae Road north of Attical, Kilkeel, Co. Down (J264203). As this was about 6.30 pm, though the sun was shining, conditions were not ideal. About 10 Black Darters (Sympetrum danae) including several blackish males and at least 1 female, were seen, and 1 or 2 Common Hawkers (Aeshna juncea). Also seen earlier were 1 Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum), about 5 Blue-tailed Damselflies (Ischnura elegans) and about 10 Common Darters (Sympetrum striolatum) in a flooded gravel pit at Ballynahatten near Kilkeel, with 1 male and 2 or 3 female Banded Damselflies (Calopteryx splendens) on the River Bann at Dynes Bridge c. 3 miles south of Portadown, Co. Armagh.


30th July-2nd Aug Sussex/Surrey JH
30 July 2003: At Old Rowfant Mill Pond TQ316377 there were numbers of white-legged damselflies and red-eyed damselflies among others. On the same date I went over to the Blindley Heath locality to see the small red-eyed damselflies, as I had not seen this spp before. I would say that there were about 5-7 males present, and a pair was seen in tandem. One major difference to E.najas apart from the more obvious features was the insect's habit of tilting the tip of abdomen upward at a c.45 degree angle; also the wingtips only seem to go as far as approx end of segment 6 whereas on the common species the wingtips reach at least to end of segment 7. Common blue damsels and blue-tails also here.
31 July 2003: Male brilliant emerald, emperor dragonfly and red-eyed damselflies at Bolney North Pond TQ263223; several red-eyed damselflies, two white-legged damselflies and a few banded demoiselles at Bolney South Pond TQ263217, and male brilliant emerald, black-tailed skimmers, red-eyed damselflies etc at Spruce Hill Pond TQ237342.
2 Aug 2003: A rather worn-looking male brilliant emerald was at Tilgate Refuge TQ277342 along with a late male broad-bodied chaser, black-tailed skimmer, and red-eyed damselflies. Banded demoiselle (scarce here), common darter and 2 emerald damselflies were seen at nearby sites. Brown hawkers seem to be doing well this year with probably 10 or more seen in the general area here today, also a few migrant hawkers. There were 10 or more white-legged damselflies plus several red-eyed damselflies etc at New Pond TQ274331.


2nd August Ireland KM
Today's bright conditions tempted me to return to 'Ring Marsh', at Lady's Island to see if there was any sign of the Lesser Emperor I recorded there last Saturday. A Brown Hawker patrolling a stretch of road not too far from where I live was an encouraging start. I was about 1 km beyond 'The Lobster Pot' pub/restaurant on the road for Carnsore Pt./Ring Marsh when I noticed a couple of hawkers along a warm, sheltered stretch of road, so I stopped to have look. They looked like Migrant Hawkers, and when they eventually alighted on the hedgerow I was able to confirm the identification.
I spent two hours or so looking for Lesser Emperor, but to no avail. It was a little windier than last week, and perhaps not quite so warm, but the conditions seemed to be reasonably good. At least one male Emperor was present as well as a few Common Darters. I had a brief view through my telescope of a very bright red darter, with bright red eyes when viewed head-on; it looked very like a Red-veined, but the awkward angle and brevity of the view precluded a positive identification.
Eddie Dunne and Joe Curtis reported at least three Emperors at the small 'quarry pool' just north of Tacumshin (a regular site) and at least one Emperor was present at the east end of Tacumshin.


2nd August East Surrey KN
A couple of brown hawkers were flying around the meadows in Hurst Green (near Oxted). And in our garden an Aeshnid (probably cyanae) flew over. At the pool by the Red Barn pub in Blindley Heath there was a brown hawker and an emperor. On the pool by the Blindley Heath traffic lights there were two emperors, a brown hawker, a black-tailed skimmer, at least one red-eyed damselfly (najas), at least five small red-eyed damselflies (viridulum), and several blue-tailed and common blue damselflies. Also one Sympetrum (probably common darter).
The hairy dragonfly that I reported as a "possible" at the above site in an earlier report was almost certainly a downy emerald, which I had never seen till then, but which I did see there later (and was confirmed by a BDS member). :-[


29th July Suffolk RR
River Gipping from Needham Market to Pipps Ford.
An afternoon visit provided ample evidence that the spread of the Small Red-eyed Damselfly had reached this far inland with several hundred individuals scattered over quite a large area both on the pits and on the river, in bankside vegetation and in surrounding bushes. Smaller numbers of Red-eyed Damselflies were also present.
Other species present in good numbers included Banded Demoiselle, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer, and both Ruddy and Common Darters.
This is a seemingly underwatched site and it is certainly worth a visit from anyone in the area. I have, myself, seen 18 different species here over the last few years.


29th July W. Sussex MikeF
St Leonards Forest West Sussex: White legged damselflies numerous. Noticed here for last three years over summer months in relatively dry areas. Breeding site(s) unknown - possibly wet flushes/ephemeral streams. TQ2131 and TQ2130.


26th July Suffolk RM
Following my earlier report of Small Red-eyed Damselflies (Erythromma viridulum) at a Water Company reservoir near Lowestoft, a more systemmatic count was made on 26 July by several observers dividing up the reservoir and counting sections. The result was astounding. There are now at least 2500 present. It is hard to believe how excited we were to find 3 a couple of years ago!


26th July Ireland KM
I'm not sure if the species has been recorded in Ireland already this year, but today, (in the company of birdwatching friend Pat Lonergan) I recorded a Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope at Ring Marsh, near the south-east corner of Our Lady's Island Lake, Wexford. I first noticed it when it 'buzzed' - and apparently chased away - a male Emperor Anax imperator we had been watching as it patrolled the water's edge. It made five or six passes in the course of about twenty minutes. During a couple of these I attempted to film it with a video camera attached to my telescope, and even though the resulting images are small, they are surprisingly identifiable!
There have been the usual numbers of Emperors at regular sites in Wexford in recent weeks, but this is the first hint I have had of a Lesser.


24th July Bucks. GHM
Two visits in Milton Keynes
Stony Stratford Conservation Area: Blue-tailed - 100+ including pairs in cop.; Common Blue dams - 10 including pairs in cop.; Red-eyed - 3 (m & f); Ruddy Darter - 10+ mostly males; Common Darter - 4, 2 pairs ovipositing; Quads - 2; Brown Hawkers - 5.
On the nearby River Ouse I added an ovipositing Brown Hawker, a female White-legged and 2 or 3 Banded dem males
Little Linford Wood: Common Blue dams - 300+ They're all over the place despite lack of water in the wood. No sign of mating behaviour but most seemed to be mature.; Banded Dem - 1 male!; Emerald dams - 6 males and 1 female.; Brown Hawkers - at least 30; Migrant Hawkers - about 10; Southern Hawkers - 2 males; Ruddy Darters - 3 males. Also lots of Painted Ladys and Peacocks


19th July W. Sussex SGa
Whilst looking for plants at Amberley Wild Brooks on Sat July 19th 2003 I was treated to excellent views of two male Red-veined Darters along a dyke running parallel to the east bank of the River Arun at approx map ref 018127.


21st June Norfolk NA
On June 21 we had an RSPB trip to Strumpshaw Fen. Several Norfolk Hawkers were observed, but 1 female was observed + photographed ovipositing in Frog-bit, Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, leaves + not the usual Water Soldier cited in the literature for English Norfolk Hawkers. Apparently it is more catholic in its tastes in Europe.


21st July Notts. PeteS
Nottingham-Boots Company, Beeston Site, 21/7/03.
A stroll through the Millennium Garden on the Boots Site amazingly produced two Migrant Hawkers.


12/13 July Ireland PD
With the weather full of promise for the weekend I headed down to Clara Bog in County Offaly on Saturday 12/7. When I got there the ambient temperature was warm with a good breeze. Four spotted Chaser (L.quadrimaculata) was in abundance over every bog pool and both adult and teneral sympetrums were on the wing. 2 male Keeled Skimmer (O.coerulescens) were present, 1 each at separate sites on the bog. Also present were 1 Common Hawker (A. juncea) which I caught and 1 Brown Hawker (A. grandis) with small numbers of ' blue' damselfly . Moving on to Mongan Bog further west in the afternoon, I had more Four spotted Chaser, a pair of Common Hawker with the female ovipositing, Common blue, Blue tailed, Large Red and Emerald damselfly as well as a few teneral sympetrums. On Sunday 13/7 I headed to south County Wexford where at a quarry pond close to Tacumshin Lake I head 4-6 male Emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) holding territory (1 caught) and 1 female Emperor ovipositing. Also present were Four spotted Chaser, many sympetrums (mostly Ruddy Darter - S.sanguineum), Common blue, Azure, Emerald and Blue tailed damselfly. At Tacumshin Lake I had more Ruddy Darter and at small different pond further inland from the lake I had a single patrolling male Emperor. An excellent dragonfly weekend.


14th July Hampshire SKW
A few sightings from Crockford Bridge, New Forest, 14th July 03 (on the 1,2,5 order of magnitude system)
Southern Damselfly 50
Golden-ringed Dragonfly 5
Keeled Skimmer 20
Common Darter 20
Emerald Damselfly 1
Large Red Damselfly 10
Small Red Damselfly 10
Common Blue-tailed Damselfly 5


16th July Suffolk RM
On my local patches around Lowestoft, Suffolk There have been regular sightings Of Small Red-eyed Damselflies (Erythroma viridulum) at several pools but usually in low numbers of 6 to 20. However on 16 July 2003 I decided to visit a small reservoir owned by Anglian Water at a site close to Tesco on A12 in Lowestoft. I was absolutely amazed to find a colony of Small Red-eyed Damselflies numbering probably 300 to 400. I counted 100 in just one corner of the pool and the whole surface was covered by floating algal mats. Just scanning with binoculars revealed that the damselflies were across the entire surface. In complete contrast to the other local sites where Small Red-eyed Damselflies occur, here it was the Red-eyed that was hardly represented. I only saw about 6. Could this be the largest colony of Small Red-eyed Damselflies yet discovered? I wonder!


15th July Ireland IR
On 15th July I paid a visit to Co. Monaghan and Fermanagh in calm warm conditions alternating between hazy sunshine and cloudier conditions with the odd drop of rain. At the first stop, on the River Blackwater at Foyduff about a mile west of Middletown on the Armagh to Monaghan border, there was 1 Aeshna grandis (flying in both counties!) and about 8 Calopteryx splendens (1 on the Co. Armagh side). At Lambs Lough near Monaghan, Aeshna grandis and 4 Enallagma cyathigerum (including 1 mating pair) were seen, and at Mount Louise Lake near Clones, only one Ischnura elegans. At Reilly Wood NNR near Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh, 2 Aeshna grandis were seen.
Further evidence of the frequency of Keeled Skimmer on large raised bogs near the Shannon in central Ireland comes from Alex Copland. At Annagh bog in North Tipperary (M890040) on Saturday (12th July) there were at least 30), with 3 Common Hawkers, one Four-spotted Chaser, 3 Blue-tailed Damselfly and 1 Azure Damselfly. On 14th July at Coolderry bog near Banagher (N037147), Co. Offaly, there were 4 Keeled Skimmers and 3 Common Hawkers. On 13th July at Tullynicky Bog near Portumna, Co. Galway, there were at least 3 Common Hawkers, and single Azure Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly.


15th July N. Lancs. PM
The first multiple occurence of Broad bodied Chaser (different world up here!) in this area today with 3 poss 4 males and a female at Heysham Nature reserve main marsh. This site was checked thoroughly on Sunday but not yesterday.
The Black-tailed Skimmers have also increased to 4 males and two females on Middleton Industrial Estate with a transitory individual through the Nature reserve early afternoon. This has appeared at several new sites to the south of here e.g., Brockholes, Ribble Valley, nr Preston.
Only 6 Red-veined Darters could be found today at Middleton Industrial Estate new pond as the easterly winds blew straight on to the favoured shoreline but this did include a female. All exuviae found were of Common (or Ruddy) Darter but this was the first proper check this year (by Frank Walsh: total of 49 examined) and the RVD exuviae would surely have disintegrated by now (no evidence of tenerals as opposed to males showing resideual signs of immaturity for getting on for three weeks).
Just to alert nearby observers that there appears to be a net loss of Red-veined darter males from Middleton this week as easterlies hammered the favoured area (down to 3-4 yesterday). There has been quite a bit of insect movement during the easterlies, notably the mass transport of the superabundant True Lover's Knot off the nearby fells and into lowland MV traps. This probably accounts for the Black-tailed Skimmers at Middleton increasing to 7 males & two females (I dont think any are further NW than these?) as well as the Broad-bodied Chaser arrival early in the week (same comment as BkTS)


12-15th July Northants. MT
All 19 Northants species have now emerged, with the first discovery of Migrant Hawker exuvia today (15 July) at Wilson's Pits and Barnwell Country park. Over the weekend, we visited Sywell Country park near Northampton and saw the following:
Emperor Dragonfly - two exuvia retrieved from the reservoir and a female seen oviposting in the Amphibian Pond.
Brown Hawker - Several seen over and around the reservoir and a femal oviposting in the same pond.
Ruddy Darter - Eight males seen around the reservoir, but no sign of any females
Common Darter - Pair oviposting in the Amphibiam pond.
Emerald Damselfly - A single male in the pond
Common Blue Damselfly - 100's around the reservoir, many copulating (including one male attempting tandem with a dead female!).
Red-eyed Damselfly - several seen on the reservoir (no Small Red-eyes yet!!).
Blue-tailed Damselfly - several seen over the reservoir.


15th July Surrey JA
On the 15/7/03 at Blindley Heath Pond, Surrey, there were 2 mating pairs of Small Red-eyed Damselflies which were ovi-positing into floating weed. Also 3-4 other males.


14th July Sussex JA
On the 14/7/03 at Ashdown Forest, Sussex, there were c30 Keeled Skimmers and 4-5 Golden-ringed Dragonflies. At a Blindley Heath Pond, Surrey, there were 2 male Small Red-eyed Damselflies.


13th July Surrey JA
On the 13/7/03 at One Island Pond, Mitcham Common, Surrey there was a male Small Red-eyed Damselfly. Also there, two Four-spotted Chasers, five Emperors, lots of Blue-tailed and Common Damselflies, about sixty Black-tailed Skimmers, one adult and several teneral Common Darters.


13th July N. Lancs. PM
Middleton Industrial Estate ponds
Male Red-veined Darters seem to have peaked at 11 individuals (9/7 & 12/7). At least two ovipositing females (including in tandem with obvious males) seen plus four other sightings of ovipositing darters, probably this species. Today (13/7) saw the last of the 'easy days' as reddish immature male Common Darters started to make an appearance in and between the RVD territories.
RVD has bred at this site with several of the males showing signs of immaturity during a slow & steady increase in numbers occupying territories along the water edge throughout June/early July. However, all observers have been very short on time and no systematic searching for exuviae has taken place; there did not seem to be any need, given the status and obvious immaturity of some of the males when they first appeared on the waters edge. This follows ovipositing being recorded on several occasions last year (& insects seen the previous two years, including ovipositing by what was almost certainly a female of this species). However, the 2002 records appeared to be related to an obvious influx during a short window of suitable weather in early June. This may, of course, not be the case and they were perhaps locally-born
Black-tailed Skimmers reached this site as territory-occupying insects (as opposed to two single-date records) for the first time this year and three males and at least one ovipositing female are in residence. I think this is the most north-westerly site in the UK.
The first Ruddy Darter, a species giving cause for concern numbers-wise after the last two poor summers, was seen today (13/7). Lestes sponsa have been 'out' since at least 5/7. Just a few scruffy 4-spotted Chasers remain but up to 10 Emperor and a handful of Brown and Common Hawkers can be seen.


13th July Hampshire RC
The first Migrant Hawker I have seen this year was in Whiteley Pastures, Southern Hampshire today (13th July).
Over the last few days we have noticed a range expansion of Emerald Damsel into Titchfield Haven NNR. The nearest location previously that I am aware of was the Whiteley Pastures/Botley Wood area some four miles to the north - where very good numbers have been reported this year.


12th July Berks. CW
At Reading's Thames Valley Park today, amongst the many Brown Hawkers and Emperors was what I take to be a Lesser Emperor. Of course it wouldn't perch for examination, but was mostly olive brown,including the sides of the thorax, with green eyes, abdomen held straight, and vivid blue band at the start of the abdomen. Even at a distance of 25m this electric-blue marking was easily visible with the naked eye, even if the insect was flying directly away from me. After patrolling the edge of a large pond for a couple of minutes at Emperor height, skirmishing with 4-Spots and Black-Tailed Skimmers, it took off vertically with another dragonfly and didn't return.


12th July Devon DSm
Howard Bottrell, who attended the Devon Group meeting to Countess Wear on 21 June, has just come up trumps: he photographed what has turned out to be a male Scarce Chaser - the first for Devon!


10/12th July Bucks GHM
10th July, Ouzel Valley Park, Milton Keynes: On ox-bow lake near the River Ouzel were seen about 10 Ruddy Darters, 1 male Emperor, a few White-legged dams and Banded Demoiselles and about 10 each of Emerald, Blue-tailed and Azure dams. On the nearby river were seen a good number (30+) White-legged with several pairs ovipositing in tandem and over 100 Banded Demoiselles together with another Emperor male. Near the car park 2 Southern Hawkers were hunting a tree lined cycle path.
12th July, Blue Lagoon, Milton Keynes: 12 species seen as follows; 10+ 4-spotted Chasers, 2 Broad-bodied Chasers, 10 Common Darters (including pairs ovipositing), 10 Black-tailed Skimmers (all males), 4 or 5 Emperors, 1 male Ruddy Darter and about 6 Brown Hawkers including one male on its maiden flight from its exuvia (collected). Damselflies seen were 1 male Emerald, 30-100 Blue-tailed, 30+ Common Blue, 30+ Azure and a single male Banded Demoiselle. The Blue-tailed and Common Blues were observed in tandem.
Weather on both occasions sunny and warm.


9/10th July N. Ireland IR
I saw my first Black Darter this year in Northern Ireland (an immature female) at Montiaghs Bog NNR near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, on 10th July, and my first definite Common Hawker (Aeshna juncea). Also seen was a female Hairy Hawker (Brachytron pratense), and about 20 or more each of Libellula quadrimaculata and Sympetrum sanguineum (though none of the latter showed mature colouring). Surprisingly I saw no Sympetrum striolatum. Among Zygoptera there were probably about 15 Lestes sponsa (also my first in Northern Ireland this year) and similar numbers of Coenagrion pulchellum, and mating pair of Coenagrion puella. Weather was warm and fairly bright.
At Craigavon Lakes, North Armagh, on 9th, there was at least 1 Sympetrum striolatum (an immature female being caught and another specimen probably seen) and probably several dozen Enallagma cyathigerum.


9th July S. Wales CCh
Berw Road (B4273) , Pontypridd, South Wales. On park land adjacent to Craig-yr-hesg Road at 2:45pm today I saw my first Golden-ringed Dragonfly (female) this year. Initially at rest in long grasses, but disturbed by Meadow Brown Butterflies, it flew East, approximately 15 metres across the field, towards the trees alongside Berw road on the bank of the River Taff and then North to Berw Falls and the White Bridge (nowadays it's a dusty yellow/brown colour !)


5th July Cumbria JR
I spotted a female emperor dragonfly on Saturday 5th July 2003 at Kendal Golf Course in Cumbria (latitude 54:20 North). I believe this is a lot further north than emperors are regularly seen, so they seem to be spreading their range somewhat. She was patrolling up and down a path between fairways before coming to rest on grasses.


25th June Hebrides JHo
On 25th June 2003 on the inner hebridean island of Lunga, a part of the Treshnish group that lies between Mull and Coll/Tiree. A group of colleagues and myself engaged in seabird monitoring and ringing saw a large hawker type dragonfly appear over the cliff top on which we were sitting. We all noticed brown wings, a brownish unmarked abdomen and one person saw yellow stripes on the sides of the thorax. We were all certain that we had seen Brown Hawker.
The insect was in pursuit of a large fly and climbed vertically above us before descending down to beach level and out of view. I realise that there is, I believe, only one accepted record of Aeshna grandis for Scotland.
The wind had been in the SW for several days making an Irish wind borne vagrant a possibility perhaps.
I would welcome any comments that you may have concerning this record.
John Hodson, on behalf of the Treshnish Isles Ringing Group


6th July Various RE
3 Red-veined Darters in Kent northwest of Dungeness ARC at the Water Tower pits early afternoon.
3 male Red-veined Darters in Gloucestershire at Orchard Pools, Severn Beach, on second pool from lane ST543838, opposite the derelict Grove Farm buildings .
5 Red-veined Darters; 3 males and one ovipositing pair still in Lancashire at Heysham at Middleton industrial estate on new pool.


6th July Dorset SKW
Red-veined Darter & Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly at Yeolands Quarry, Portland today - see htpp://www.jjcskw.demon.co.uk, & choose the Portland link on the right for images.


4th July Surrey SKW
Thursley Common, 4/7/03: Brilliant Emerald 1, Downy Emerald 8+, Black Darter 20+, Keeled Skimmer 20+, Black-tailed Skimmer 10+, + common damsels in large numbers
Simon Woolley & Julia Casson, Winchester