Warwickshire Dragonfly Group

2016 news

Warwickshire Dragonfly Group - News page

First Flights Table

August 19th 2017 - Red-veined Darter at Marsh Lane - the continuing story

August 17th 2017 - Red-veined Darter at Marsh Lane Reserve - again

August 10th 2017 - Website records updated, Migrant Hawker exuvia and damselfly carrion

July 27th 2017 - First 2017 report of Migrant Hawker

July 24th 2017 - Report on the early summer dragonfly happenings

May 31st - Red-veined Darter sighting
July 17th - Fight for the best spot to emerge

June 19th 2017 - Report on the Chalecote Park and Paxton Pits field meetings

Saturday June 10th - Paxton Pits
Saturday May 27th - Charlecote Park

May 22nd 2017 - Update on flying species and Hairy Dragonfly at Ryton Wood

May 7th 2017 - Azure Damselfly and Four-spotted Chaser flying - updated for Blue-tail and Hairy Dragonfly.

April 22nd 2017 - Common Blue Damselfly emerging and many Large Red Damselflies at Bubbenhall Meadow

April 13th 2017 - First flying damselflies this year and a very early Banded Demoiselle!

March 13st 2017 - Using iRecord for your sightings.

February 2017 - Report for 2016 published in the BDS Darter journal.

Table of Earliest Dates Recorded in Warwickshire

Date 2017
Earliest before 2017
Site for 2017
Recorder 2017
Azure Damselfly.3.5.2017
Bubbenhall Meadow
Jim Timms
Banded Demoiselle.4.4.2017
Tame, Ladywalk Nature Reserve
Paul Casey
Beautiful Demoiselle.15.5.2017
Arrow, Wixford
Mick Schilling
Black-tailed Skimmer.23.5.2017
Charlecote Park, Lake
Kay & Peter Reeve
Blue-tailed Damselfly.7.5.2017
Charlecote Park
Mick Schilling
Blue-tailed Damselfly.7.5.2017
Charlecote Park
Martin Roberts
Broad-bodied Chaser.14.5.2017
Packmore Community Garden, Warwick
Agni-Louiza Arampolglou
Brown Hawker.16.6.2017
Alvecote Pooley Fields
Andy Barnsley
Common Blue Damselfly.22.4.2017
Bubbenhall Meadow, Pool C
Steve Batt
Common Darter.19.6.2017
Bubbenhall Meadow
Jim Timms
Emerald Damselfly.11.6.2017
Morton Bagot
R.E. Harbird
Emperor Dragonfly.26.5.2017
Purley Chase, Purley Quarry, Mancetter
Keith Warmington
Four-spotted Chaser.7.5.2017
Bubbenhall Meadow, Pond 4
Kay & Peter Reeve
Hairy Dragonfly.9.5.2017
Alvecote Wood
Sarah Walters
Large Red Damselfly.11.4.2017
Bubbenhall Meadow, Pond 2
Kay & Peter Reeve
Migrant Hawker.8.7.2017
Avon, Welford-on-Avon
Mick Schilling
Red-eyed Damselfly.21.5.2017
Stour, Alscot
Glenn Arkinstall
Red-veined Darter.31.5.2017
Marsh Lane Nature Reserve, Hampton in Arden
Roy Ledbury
Ruddy Darter.18.6.2017
Morton Bagot
R.E. Harbird
Small Red-eyed Damselfly.16.6.2017
Alvecote Pooley Fields
Andy Barnsley
Southern Hawker.14.6.2017
Ufton Fields, Dragonfly Pond
Chris & Annette Baker
White-legged Damselfly.22.5.2017
Avon, Marlcliff
Kay & Peter Reeve
If you have any earlier dates for 2017 or earlier times for previous years please let me have them.

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August 19th - Red-veined Darter at Marsh Lane - the continuing story

Fons at Marsh Lane 19 August 2017
Photos by Jeff Rankin, Red-veined Darter, Marsh Lane 19 August 2017
Fons at Marsh Lane 19 August 2017
On 19th August Graham Rowling and Jeff Rankin did it again and found another Red-veined Darter at Marsh Lane Reserve. Jeff's photos or are on the left. It is a female. As with the specimen found on 17th August, it is recently emerged. This further evidence to support local emergence, probably at the Reserve. We should watch for breeding behaviour, copulation and oviposition.

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August 17th - Red-veined Darter at Marsh Lane - again this year

Red-veined Darter Marsh Lane 15 August 2017
Photos by Jeff Rankin, Red-veined Darter, Marsh Lane 15 August 2017
Red-veined Darter

A Red-veined Darter was seen at Marsh Lane on 15th August by Jeff Rankin and he photographed it, see left. These show an immature specimen, probably a male. There is good circumstantial evidence that it emerged at Marsh Lane. The species larvae develop rapidly and on the continent can go through up to two generations in one summer and there were Red-veined Darter sighted at Marsh Lane in late May/early June, see below. Of course, we will have to await the finding of exuvia for absolute proof of breeding but it highly probable it emerged somewhere near if not at Marsh Lane - a very exciting event for Warwickshire!

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August 10th 2017 - Website records updated, Migrant Hawker Exuvia and damselfly carrion

All the records sent to me and those entered on the iRecord Dragonflies or General data forms up to 7th August are now on this website. The distribution map data and the first flights data table are updated. There have been one or two changes to the first dates, hopefully now these are finalised for this year?

Mixta & cyanea exuvia
Photo by KMR, Migrant and Southern Hawker exuvia

Migrant hawker exuvia
Kay and Peter Reeve were recording at Wormleighton Reservoir on the 6th August and Kay spotted and recovered a Migrant Hawker exuvia. It is the height of the emergence period for the species now and they continue to emerge into September and possibly even into the beginning of October. When you are out recording it is worth keeping a eye open for Migrant Hawker exuvia. Exuvia records are probably the most valuable for a species and site, they prove that the life cycle has been completed there for the species. Exuvia can be collected and kept for future reference or to get confirmation of ID and there is no detriment to the dragonfly.

Migrant Hawker are very similar in shape, particularly their mask, to Southern Hawker. However, they are easily separated from them by their small size as the photo shows. In the photo the Migrant is just over 32mm in length and the Southern about 42mm. Exuvia can vary in length but the Migrant Hawkers are always less than 38mm. Note, both these specimens are males.

(Today another male Migrant Hawker exuvia was found on a pool at Draycote.)
Long-winged Conehead eating a dead Common Blue Damselfy

Photo by Kay Reeve, Long-winged Cone-head eating a Common Blue Damselfly
Damselfly as carrion
While recording at Bubbenhall Meadow Kay and Peter came across this macabre sight, a Long-winged Cone-head tucking into a dead male Common Blue Damselfly. A case of carrion feeding. We presume the Common Blue was killed by the owner of the grass nest it is on,  some species of spider. Does anyone know what species or family the spider belongs to?

(Today two damselflies were seen in a similar web at Draycote - no Long-winged Cone-head though.)

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July 27th 2017 - First report of Migrant Hawker

On 8th July Mick Schilling saw three male Migrant Hawkers at Welford-on-Avon on the river - apologies for being late with this report. All our common breeding species are now about and flying. The first flights table has been updated and shows the earliest flight dates for all species with a record for this year in the Warwickshire database. However, I am still catching up entering the backlog of records that have been sent directly to me so there may yet be more changes to come. If your records are entered using the on-line recording page they will appear more quickly on this website!

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July 24th 2017 - Report on the early summer dragonfly happenings

The news update has been delayed by a couple of factors, a three week holiday in (wet) Scotland and technical difficulties associated with the move to iRecord web based recording - now, hopefully, resolved.

The best way to see how things have progressed since May is to look at the table of first flights. The majority of our breeding species are now flying and the red highlighted rows show quite a few species made early appearances. The particularly early Banded Demoiselle was reported on below. Ruddy Darter and Small Red-eyed Damselfly were significantly earlier this year by six and three days respectively. However, a number of early species, for example, Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers, were quite tardy in their appearance. This was probably because of the cold spell in mid/late May.

May 31st - Red-veined Darter sighting

Red-veined Darter Marsh Lane 31 May 2017
Photo by Roy Ledbury Red-veined Darter, Marsh Lane
Red-veined Darter at Marsh Lane 1/6/17
Photo by Dave Hutton Red-veined Darter, Marsh Lane

You will notice Red-veined Darter is in the first flights table. This attractive vagrant was seen first by Roy Ledbury at Marsh Lane Reserve 31st May and photographed by him. There were several individuals and they stayed around for at least another day.  The following day Dave Hutton saw three individuals there and was able to photograph them too.

There have been records for the species in Warwickshire for six of the years since 2000. The sightings this year were part of a country wide immigration that occurred in late May/early June. There were reports from the South Coast to Cumbria.

July 17th  Fight for the best spot to emerge

Southern Hawker exuvia Bubbenhall Meadow 17 July 2017

Photo by Steve Batt Southern Hawker exuvia, Bubbenhall Meadow
Steve Batt found at least 19 exuvia of the Southern Hawker at a pond on the Bubbenhall Meadow Nature Reserve. His photo shows that a good emergence point will be used again and again..... We can assume that did not all emerged together.

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June 19th 2017 - Report on the Charlecote Park and Paxton Pits field meetings

Saturday 10th June - Paxton Pits

WDG people at Paxton Pits 2017
Photo by Kay Reeve Green-eyed Hawker, Paxton Pits
Green-eyed Hawker - Paxton Pits 2017
Photo by Kay Reeve Green-eyed Hawker, Paxton Pits
The meeting was a repeat of one in 2015 which was spoilt by bad weather. A week before this one the weather forecast for the Saturday was dire. However, as the date approached the forecast gradually improved and on the day when fourteen of us gathered at Paxton it was bright sunny weather if a little windy. We set off for the pools - what a day it turned out to be!

We walked along the path beside Cloudy Lake, see the Paxton Pits map, and with our first view across open water spotted a Green-eyed Hawker (Anaciaeshna isoseles, AKA Norfolk Hawker) - the first of the day. It was holding territory far from the Water Soldier (Stratiotes aloides) with which it is associated in England. Our morning objective was to get to Hayling Lake with extensive areas of Water Soldier but our progress was slowed by the many damselflies and dragonflies we encountered on the way. Hawking female and male Green-eyed Hawkers, Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) and a maturing female Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva). On the south bank of Rudd Lake we were distracted by good numbers of Four-spotted Chaser (L. quadrimaculata) with the males in active pursuit of females. Other dragonflies sighted were Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis), immature Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) and an immature Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). There were a good number of damselflies too. Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellumits ), Azure Damselfly (C. puella), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum), Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans), Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) and an early Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa).

Eventually we reached the Hayling Lake Water Soldier beds and were not disappointed. Despite the wind, male Green-eyed Hawkers were on patrol. There were opportunities for the photographers, see left, and a number of exuvia of Green Eyed Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) and Four-spotted Chaser were collected.There were more exuvia out of reach.

We returned to the Visitor Centre for lunch in a very happy mood.

After lunch some of the party visited the bank of the Nene to find Scarce Chasers on territory. After fighting through a jungle of nettles the waters edge was reached and, as expected, active males were found.A very brave lady, Jill in shorts, pressed on into the nettles to find the optimum spot for a photo.

Returning we passed a large Carp, an Otter kill, more or less untouched except for the liver which had been enjoyed.

Many thanks to Paul Claydon the county Countryside Ranger and his team, especially those in the tea room, for their help and cooperation.

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Saturday 27th May - Charlecote Park

Chaletcote park Group 2017
 Photo by Kay Reeve
The purpose of this visit to the National Trust property Charlecote House and Park was to attempt to find emerging Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva). They were first recorded here on the river Avon in small numbers in 2015.

There was a good turn out of eighteen, mostly local WDG members but a few from further afield. Our guide, Joy Margerum the Area Ranger for Chalecote Park, met us at the car park. The weather was chilly and windy with little sun after early morning rain - this was after 4 or 5 days of a mini "heat wave". Even so, the day was quite suitable for finding emerging dragonflies and Joy led us off to the rivers Dene and Avon. We visited the rivers quite close to the house and specifically that part of the river where Scarce Chaser was found in 2015. In spite of a good number of pairs of eyes looking, photo left, we failed to find any sign of the target species. However, there were good numbers of Banded Demoioselle (Calopteryx splendens) including many newly emerged.

After a thorough search of the river bank we left to go to the pool. It is very good habitat for odonata and did not disappoint. There were 10 to 20 newly emeged Black-tailed Skimmers (Orthetrum cancellatum) many still with their exuvia. Some had travelled 10-20 metre from the water though fairly rank grass before starting emergence. Also, there were several Broad-bodied Chasers emerging. The few other species on the pool were: Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans), Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrosoma nymphula), Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) and one or two Banded Demoiselles.

After lunch Joy took us to a part of the Avon in the deer park that is closed to the general public. Again a search was made for Scarce Chaser and again to no avail. However, there was a remarkable concentration of Banded Demioselles sheltering from the now stronger wind and thickening cloud in stands of nettles to the lee of a copse of trees. With that we called the meeting to a close and repaired to the Charlecote House tearoom.

Many thanks to the National Trust and particularly Joy for their cooporation.

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May 22nd 2017 - Update on Flying species and Hairy Dragonfly at Ryton Wood

White-legged at Marlcliff 22 May 2017
 Photo by Kay Reeve - Immature White-legged Damselfly, Avon at Marlcliff

Since the posting on 7th May four additional species have been recorded flying. Mick Schilling recorded Beautiful Demoiselle on the Arrow at Wixford on 15 May. He records here regularly and this is the first time he has seen the species on this part of the Arrow. The species was also recorded on the Stour near Brailes by by Jill Roberts.

Agni-Louiza Arampolglou has sent a record for Broad-bodied Chaser at Packmore Community  Garden, The Cape Warwick the 14 May, about 3 weeks later than in 2011.

The other two species were seen by Kay and Peter Reeve on the Avon near Bidford on 22nd May. They were Red-eyed Damselfly and White-legged Damselfly the first in 10s and 20s the second just 3or 4. A Red-eye exuvia was recovered and the White-legged Damselfly was very immature,see the picture.

Female Hairy Dragonfly at Ryton Wood 21 May 2017
Photo by James Bennett -Female Hairy Dragonfly Ryton Wood
We now have another site where Hairy Dragonfly has been recorded, Ryton Wood. On 21st May James Bennett saw and photographed, left, a female. As James said in his male:
I first noticed a yellow dragonfly flying close to the vegetation near the larger pond around 11am but it disappeared over the pond after just a few seconds before I could get a good look and I couldn’t relocate it.  At this point I was assuming it was a female broad-bodied chaser (but it seemed too big) or black-tailed skimmer.  I wandered off further into the woods with the intention of heading to Bubbenhall meadow and spotted the one I photographed about 5-10 minutes later heading East from the ponds.  It was probably 200-300m from the pond and I have a feeling it was the same individual.

The first flights table is up to date.

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May 7th 2017 - Azure Damselfly and Four-spotted Chaser flying - updated for Blue-tail and Hairy Dragonfly

After the early emergence of Banded Demoiselle and the Large Red and Common Blue damselflies there has been a bit of a hiatus because of the colder weather. Now with the weather warming again things are moving.

Bubbenhall Meadow seems to be doing well. Jim and Carol Timms sighted several Azure Damselflies at the Meadow on 3rd May and more Large Red Damselflies. A visit by Kay and Peter Reeve on the 7th May yielded good numbers of the three already recorded damselflies and the first record for the year for Four-spotted Chaser. Kay and Peter watched a female emerging and Kay just missed the maiden flight as she turned back to get the camera! Altogether there were four or so individuals seen and four exuvia were collected.

After the first posting of this report more reports came in of two more species seen 7th May. Martin Roberts and Mick Schilling both reported a single Blue-tailed Damselfly at Chalecote Park Also the first Hairy Dragonfly of the year was seen at Alvecote Wood by Sarah Walters. She also reported about half a dozen Four-spots.

The first flights table has been updated.

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April 22nd 2017 - A Common Blue Damselfly emerging and many Large Red Damselflies at Bubbenhall Meadow

Common Blue Damselfly 22/4/20017
Photo by Kay Reeve - Common Blue Damselfly
Kay and Peter Reeve were going round Bubbenhall Meadow with Steve Batt doing a preliminary survey of the ponds and pools in preparation for Steve starting monitoring there next month. It was a bright and sunny morning but there was nothing showing on the large open pools. However, when we arrived at the first pond we found many emerging Large Red Damselflies. On the next three ponds there were as many or more emerging - we had caught an "emergence day". No other species were seen at the ponds.

As we were returning to the car park Steve caught sight of a brown damselfly. On closer examination it proved to be a newly emerged male Common Blue Damselfly, see the photo left. The date of the sighting proved to be the earliest ever record for Warwickshire by just one day! See the first flights table. It almost certainly emerged from the adjoining large open pool - a habitat the species likes.

The three species recorded so far this year are all the earliest ever in Warwickshire. This year could see more earliest ever sightings than the record breaking year 2011. Get out and break a record!

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April 13th 2017 - First flying damselflies this year and a very early Banded Demoiselle!.

April 4th - Remarkably early Banded Demoiselle emergence!

Paul Casey- Banded Demoiselle 4/4/2017 Photo by Paul Casey - Female Banded Demoiselle

I have just received notification of a sighting by Paul Casey of a female Banded Demioselle on the Tame at Ladywalk Reservoir. This is a very early record, by 16 days, for the species in Warwickshire and the UK - see the first flights table. Indeed, it could prove to be the earliest ever UK record for an emerged Banded Demioselle. Paul's photo shows a female that probably emerged at least a few hours before it was taken, possibly even the previous day.

April 11th - First Large Red Damselfly of the year

Kay Reeve - Large Red Damselfly 11/4/2017 Photo by Kay Reeve - Female Large Red Damselfly

Kay and I visited Bubbenhall Meadow NR on 11 April to discuss clearing paths for dragonfly monitoring with the Nature Reserve maintenance team. As we went round the ponds we disturbed four newly emerged Large Red Damselfly. One exuvia was recovered. This is the first record of this early species this year and is the earliest by one day that it has ever emerged in Warwickshire - unless someone has a earlier record for it this year - see the first flights table.

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March 31st 2017 - Using iRecord for your sightings.

All dragonfly records for Warwickshire can be entered online using the dedicated BDS iRecord entry form. This can be found by following the link to BRC Record Entry Form page. iRecord sighting are sent to the county Dragonfly Recorder for verification for Warwickshire - that is me, Peter Reeve.

iRecord is a very good way to get records to me. It avoids transcription errors creeping in via the email or other routes. But if you wish you can continue to send records to me by email or post, that is perfectly acceptable. Avoid using other iRecord forms such as General Data. If possible, also avoid using other organisations dragonfly online recording forms such as the RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, etc.

To get access to all the features available on the iRecord website it is necessary to create an account,visit the iRecord home page. Do not use the recording forms on the "Record" tab on this page, for preference go the BRC Record Entry Form page where there are some useful suggestions for how some of the data should be entered or directly to the BDS recording page.

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February 2017 - Report for 2016 published in the BDS Darter journal.

The BDS publishes the "Darter" every year. It is a communication journal for the county recorders. Below is article supplied to the journal for Warwickshire, VC 38. It is slightly different from the published copy - some editing was done.

Warwickshire – VC 38

Kay and Peter Reeve

For the second year running there was a slow start to the flight season. The first sightings of adults of many species were quite late. It was not until mid-June that all our known breeding species were on the wing. Some early species appeared quite late. For example,the first flying Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa was seen on 17 May more than three weeks later than our earliest ever date for the county of 12 April.

However, there were a number of new proof of breeding at sites in the county. Exuvia of Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense were found at Wormleighton Reservoir in the south-east and Alvecote Wood in the north of the county. At both sites adults have been seen for several years. This species is now present at thirteen sites that are widely distributed in Warwickshire with breeding proved at four (i.e. exuvia and/or emerging adults seen).

For several years Scarce Chaser Libullula fulva has been found flying and showing breeding behaviour on the Avon at Marlcliff. This year, for the first time anywhere in the county, an exuvia and a preflight adult were found – the latter, sadly, had been mortally wounded by some form of predation.

By the end of June all our resident breeding species were seen on the wing – including a sighting of the county rarity Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura pumilio which is still holding on at its one vulnerable site.

We had a rarely seen vagrant, Black Darter Sympetrum danae, at Alvecote in the north of the county (a site with highly acidic pools but devoid of sphagnum). It was last seen in the county in 2012.

Finally, Jill Roberts photographed a Black-tailed skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum at Winderton on 29th September, a very late date for the species and the latest for it flying in Warwickshire. Further, it still showed immature coloration through blue pruinescence at several places on the abdomen - this suggests it was fairly young. Not content with just a male and she saw a female too and watched the two mating.

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Last updated Tue Aug 22 11:44:39 2017

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2016 news