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UK dragonfly & damselfly sightings 2020

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Old Friday 3rd July 2020, 21:35   #101
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I saw this dragonfly today in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. But I do not know what it is.
I think it's a southern hawker but better wait for the experts.
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Old Saturday 4th July 2020, 05:10   #102
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I think it's a southern hawker but better wait for the experts.
It is, but this photo was already identified in another thread- no idea why it was put out in 2 different threads?
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Old Saturday 4th July 2020, 16:32   #103
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Brown hawker at Otmoor RSPB yesterday, along with a very fresh-looking ruddy darter.
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Old Saturday 4th July 2020, 17:15   #104
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another ruddy darter near my home in Surrey. Unusually, I seem to be seeing more ruddy than common darters so far this year.
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Old Wednesday 8th July 2020, 22:05   #105
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News on the BDS sightings page - the ditch in Canvey Island which had a Southern Emerald damsel sighting a couple of years ago had a report of 7 immatures on 3 July. They were reported to be low down in a hedge near the ditch, which fits with reports from other sites of what sort of habitat they like to hang out between emerging and breeding. The key thing about this site is there's access on a public right of way, in contrast to this species' annoying habit of breeding on inaccessible private land. The site is also reported to be crawling with Southern Migrant Hawker and Scarce Emerald.

If interested, have a look at this thread from 2018 about Canvey Island and you'll find all the details.
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2020, 01:21   #106
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Just perusing the Latest Sightings on the British Dragonfly Society page when I noticed a claim of a female Yellow-winged Darter rescued from blanketweed in a water filled planter in Redbridge, London.

I've noticed in the last couple of years some clearly inaccurate reports & wonder if anybody knows anything about this record?

I'm rather sceptical!
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2020, 08:35   #107
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Originally Posted by aeshna5 View Post
Just perusing the Latest Sightings on the British Dragonfly Society page when I noticed a claim of a female Yellow-winged Darter rescued from blanketweed in a water filled planter in Redbridge, London.

I've noticed in the last couple of years some clearly inaccurate reports & wonder if anybody knows anything about this record?

I'm rather sceptical!
Through the iRecord verification I received a Southampton record of Vagrant Darter on 13th July - with pictures of a teneral female Common Darter - which I was able to re-determine.

On the BDS website there was a record of Golden-ringed Dragonfly in an Oxfordshire garden on 3rd May - there was a link to a Flickr pic of a Common Clubtail which is not a bad garden tick! However, the GR record was mentioned in the "British Wildlife" dragonfly round-up.

I'm pretty sure the BDS doesn't have the resources to check through the sightings that get put on the latest sightings on their website - best viewed as a vehicle to encourage interaction and interest in dragonflies but not a scientific record :-)
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2020, 12:57   #108
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Originally Posted by aeshna5 View Post
Just perusing the Latest Sightings on the British Dragonfly Society page when I noticed a claim of a female Yellow-winged Darter rescued from blanketweed in a water filled planter in Redbridge, London.

I've noticed in the last couple of years some clearly inaccurate reports & wonder if anybody knows anything about this record?

I'm rather sceptical!
I wondered what that was really. Brown Hawker? Teneral Darter spp?
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2020, 13:18   #109
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I wondered what that was really. Brown Hawker? Teneral Darter spp?
Every photo I've seen on the internet of a yellow-winged darter in the UK over the last few years has been one of the other darter species, usually common but occasionally red-veined. Which doesn't constitute proof, of course, but a fresh common darter would have to be the most likely.
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2020, 14:03   #110
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I wondered what that was really. Brown Hawker? Teneral Darter spp?
I find people are about as good at pattern matching dragonflies as I am at matching diptera - almost 100% failure rate :-)

I saw the attached message on the local birding system - the observer didn't have the background knowledge that Willow Emeralds don't fly until July nor that it would be a first for VC11. I didn't bother to pursue it but I thought that female Banded Demoiselle would have been the most likely. (Not knocking the observer)
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2020, 16:18   #111
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I'm pretty sure the BDS doesn't have the resources to check through the sightings that get put on the latest sightings on their website - best viewed as a vehicle to encourage interaction and interest in dragonflies but not a scientific record :-)
Yes, I'm sure this has always been the case, but especially in recent years the function of the page seems to have changed somewhat.

My guess is that the dragonfly might have been an immature Ruddy Darter - people can be surprised by how much yellow there is in the wings of certain individuals. I've nearly made the mistake myself in my younger days
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2020, 18:23   #112
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I find people are about as good at pattern matching dragonflies as I am at matching diptera - almost 100% failure rate :-)

I saw the attached message on the local birding system - the observer didn't have the background knowledge that Willow Emeralds don't fly until July nor that it would be a first for VC11. I didn't bother to pursue it but I thought that female Banded Demoiselle would have been the most likely. (Not knocking the observer)
I was about to say that a lot of things had been early this year, but then I checked back and saw the date was in May. Not that early

Fairly amazed no record of Willow Em in VC11. We’ve had them in Beds for several years - thought they’d got all over by now, though I suppose they do have a more eastern distribution and Beds is (a bit) east compared to Hants. Edit: and of course they started out from Suffolk, and Beds is a lot nearer Suffolk.

The thing I find most frustrating about the new(ish) BDS reports format is not so much the ‘in my garden’ records, because it’s good to see people getting interested and involved, but that when you reload the site, though the records are in date order, often within date they seem to come up in completely random order, which means you need to check through a few records to see if there’s anything new, and if you find one new record you have to keep looking to make sure there are no more. Their database needs a timestamp for date and time posted as well as a date-of-record date, and then for records to be displayed in date-of-record followed by time-posted so that once you start seeing stuff you’ve seen before you only need to look for the next date-of-record.

Hope that’s clear, it probably isn’t

In any event, it’s still a useful site for checking what’s flying and where.

Last edited by Dave Ball : Wednesday 15th July 2020 at 18:26.
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Old Thursday 16th July 2020, 10:12   #113
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Fairly amazed no record of Willow Em in VC11. We’ve had them in Beds for several years - thought they’d got all over by now, though I suppose they do have a more eastern distribution and Beds is (a bit) east compared to Hants. Edit: and of course they started out from Suffolk, and Beds is a lot nearer Suffolk.
Willow Emerald was found in North Hampshire (Bramshill) last October and has got as far west as Knepp in West Sussex this year so VC11 will be any week now!

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The thing I find most frustrating about the new(ish) BDS reports format is not so much the ‘in my garden’ records, because it’s good to see people getting interested and involved, but that when you reload the site, though the records are in date order, often within date they seem to come up in completely random order, which means you need to check through a few records to see if there’s anything new, and if you find one new record you have to keep looking to make sure there are no more. Their database needs a timestamp for date and time posted as well as a date-of-record date, and then for records to be displayed in date-of-record followed by time-posted so that once you start seeing stuff you’ve seen before you only need to look for the next date-of-record.

Hope that’s clear, it probably isn’t

In any event, it’s still a useful site for checking what’s flying and where.
Yes - the ability for the end-user to decide if they want to see by date added or be date recorded would be good.

I tend to use iRecord now to see what's flying - once you have an account (free) it's pretty straightforward to set up queries ("Filters") to see what's flying, limited by area if needed.
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Old Thursday 16th July 2020, 10:50   #114
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Willow Emerald is already on the wing in Beds. I photographed one on the 11th at Duck End N.R (Dave knows where that is). This is nearly a month earlier than the first one I saw last year. It's been cloudy and cool since then so I haven't had a chance to check other local sites where I know it occurs.
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Old Saturday 18th July 2020, 08:48   #115
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This is for anybody thinking of visiting the Southern Emerald Damselfly site near Beaconsfield, Bucks - don't bother. Apparently the pond liner was removed last year and now the pond is virtually sterile.
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2020, 20:33   #116
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Two separate Lesser Emperors in the New Forest today. One at Hatchet Pond (south end) and one west of Holm hill.
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Old Tuesday 11th August 2020, 22:07   #117
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Southern Migrant Hawker Aeshna affinis at Emer Bog (Hants) yesterday 10.08.20 but unfortunately no sign today between 10am and 5pm.
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2020, 11:41   #118
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Beautiful Demoiselle

Out recently, in N Cornwall, when I spotted this beautiful, but as it turned out, quite expensive, damselfly.
The BD is one I have never spotted before but always hoped to.
It was hawking from an exposed root on the otherside of the small river. So there I was, perched right on the bank, leaning out as far as I dared, with the camera held out even further. Got this shot in the bag, when my foot slipped, dumping me and camera into 18" water.
Result - 1 photograph, one ruined camera and 1 very wet me.

I think it was worth it.

Fof

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Old Wednesday 12th August 2020, 19:33   #119
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1m and a conjoined pair of Lesser Emperors at Deep Lake in Chichester Gravel Pits today - first I've ever seen here! In the SE of the lake easily viewable from main footpath. Also c50 Small Red-eyed Damsels mating away in a mass damsel orgy and 2 Brown Hawkers too. Nice!

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Old Thursday 13th August 2020, 03:33   #120
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1m and a conjoined pair of Lesser Emperors at Deep Lake in Chichester Gravel Pits today - first I've ever seen here! In the SE of the lake easily viewable from main footpath. Also c50 Small Red-eyed Damsels mating away in a mass damsel orgy and 2 Brown Hawkers too. Nice!

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Very nice. There seem to be good numbers around at the moment. A couple in the London area over the last couple of days with males seen at Walthamstow Wetlands & the London Wetland Centre.

By contrast we've not had a single Red-veined Darter sighting yet this year which seems to reflect a rather poor showing nationally. Saw some figures yesterday which showed numbers in the Netherlands low in comparison to the bumper numbers last year.

As we also had a record year last year I would have expected more home grown specimens, especially during the perfect conditions we had in May. Recent weather too should have been conducive to further immigration but only small numbers noted, mainly in Cornwall.
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Old Thursday 13th August 2020, 09:56   #121
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Saw some figures yesterday which showed numbers in the Netherlands low in comparison to the bumper numbers last year.
Big fat 0 for me this year (just east of the Netherlands). Last year I had dozens.
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Old Sunday 16th August 2020, 21:01   #122
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By contrast we've not had a single Red-veined Darter sighting yet this year which seems to reflect a rather poor showing nationally. Saw some figures yesterday which showed numbers in the Netherlands low in comparison to the bumper numbers last year.

As we also had a record year last year I would have expected more home grown specimens, especially during the perfect conditions we had in May. Recent weather too should have been conducive to further immigration but only small numbers noted, mainly in Cornwall.

That's really interesting about RVDs being so scarce this year. Until last year I had never recorded them at my patch in NW Yorks, which is about 5 miles south of Scotch Corner (less than 10 miles to the Durham border). There had been a few previous records from nearby sites in Yorks, mainly from the 2006 irruption, and they have also bred at various sites in Yorks-mainly along the coast and most notably at Spurn.

Last year I saw 5 individuals in July (4 males and a mature female) but saw no evidence of breeding behaviour.

Fast forward to this year, and I counted at least 7 (4-5m/2 fem) at one site and at least 2-3 at another nearby site on 25th June. Breeding behaviour was noted at the site where I saw them last year, and my assumption was that these were likely to have been the results of breeding last year (but of course I saw no proof of this). The weather changed subsequently and hence, I haven't seen any others since.

The local dragonfly recorder came to look and suggested that as all individuals seen this year were mature adults, they could conceivably have arrived as a 'flock' from further south (abroad even) and weren't necessarily bred on site.
Of course both scenarios are just theories, but given your experiences and those of others in NW Europe, it's a little mysterious where they actually came from?

Also of note, I recorded the first Small Red-eyed Damselflies in NW Yorks last summer-but just a handful at each of 3 sites. The previous nearest records before last year were in the York area (40 miles away), and from the coast near Scarborough. It's now common knowledge that they reached as far north as Tyne and Wear last summer, and perhaps even further north? just to put my local ones into context.

Again, fast forward to this year, and no records until last week. I checked a new site near home and found what I thought were 40-50 individuals in fairly overcast, but warm conditions. I returned 2 days later, again with the local recorder who wanted to witness such great counts for this species in the county.
However, the weather was much hotter and we actually estimated around 500 individuals present!

I'm told that SR-eD have a 2 year life cycle, so it makes me wonder had they been present in the area since much longer than last year?

We live in interesting times. Where I previously only expected to see a handful of common species each summer, the possibilities have suddenly opened up dramatically...

What will we see next?

Last edited by SteveClifton : Sunday 16th August 2020 at 21:28.
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Old Monday 17th August 2020, 04:59   #123
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Interesting to hear your observations Steve. I guess there'a reasonable chance you'll get Willow Emerald in the next few years. Th're now pretty widespread around here.

I was pleased to finally add Southern Emerald to my UK list a little while back from Canvey Island. Amazing how this one very ordinary looking creek-dry for a lot of it at the moment had 3 out of 4 of the UK emerald damselflies (only Common Emerald absent). Also here 30+ Southern Migrant Hawkers & very large numbers of Ruddy Darter.

Other than Lesser Emperor & Southern Migrant Hawker at new sites I get the feeling Odonata migration from scarce species at least has been minimal. I think there was one Vagrant Emperor in the past week.
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Old Monday 17th August 2020, 06:33   #124
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male Southern Migrant Hawker at a private site in south Hampshire on Friday morning.
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Old Monday 17th August 2020, 15:19   #125
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Other than Lesser Emperor & Southern Migrant Hawker at new sites I get the feeling Odonata migration from scarce species at least has been minimal. I think there was one Vagrant Emperor in the past week.
I think that's a fair summary - but after two spectacular seasons in a row, we were unlikely to get a third!

A few Yellow-winged Darters have recently started appearing in the Netherlands, but sadly I suspect the current change in wind direction might stop them reaching the UK.
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