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UK dragonfly & damselfly sightings 2020 (1 Viewer)

SteveClifton

Well-known member
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?
 
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aeshna5

Well-known member
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.
 

Adrian_P

Well-known member
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.
 

SteveClifton

Well-known member
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.

Agree not a great year in general this year across the UK.

I was also lucky to add Lesser Emperor to my local list last year. Willow Emerald predicted for the next 2-3 years. Would love to get SMH or Vagrant Emperor at some point...
 

Surreybirder

Ken Noble
I am not an avid Odo-chaser as some on this thread appear to be but I've enjoyed finding a few species on my local patch. I had my first common blue damsel of the year yesterday. It makes me wonder if I have been overlooking them. And I've also found my first ever willow emerald damselflies. Usually our local wildlife centre has masses of black-tailed skimmers but I've seen very few all summer. Plenty of migrant hawkers about now.
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Golden Cat of this parish let me know about Willow Emeralds on the Basingstoke Canal the other day (between Eelmoor and Claycart bridges, for locals) and I nailed a male yesterday afternoon, my first local one. They seem to be still spreading and consolidating as British Odonata. Migrant Hawkers are now in their usual plague numbers along watercourses and at ponds.

John
 

Swindon Addick

Registered User
Supporter
Wales
There are a handful of Willow Emerald at Trap Grounds nature reserve in Oxford, which I went to see on Saturday. I think there was a sighting somewhere in Oxfordshire last year, followed by several locations this year including Otmoor as well, so they seem to be getting established. Egg-laying had been observed by members of the reserve's friends group during the previous week. This is more or less the western limit at present. I did quite well for other interesting insects, too. A nice little reserve I'd been unaware of until tipped off about the Willow Emeralds.

Dodgy photo, for which I'm blaming the fact that you can only view the main pool at Trap Grounds from the north so everything's back-lit. It's not in any way to do with my deficiencies as a photographer, of course.

Edit: Should add that there are several WE reports this year from north of the Humber, including 1 seen at Bempton Cliffs. There seems to be a definite northern expansion going on, as well as the steady westward drift.
 

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