If you have any later dates for 2016 or
later times for previous years please let me have them.
Mick Schilling was able to supply a new latest date for White-legged Damselfly. He spotted one at Wixford on 19th September last year, 2015. The previous latest date was the 15th September 1969! It was at Alvecote Pools and seen by M. A. Arnold.
October 18th - Very late flying Black-tailed Skimmers and other late flyers
Jill Roberts photographed this Black-tailed Skimmer at Winderton on 29th
September, a very late date for the species and the latest record to
date of it flying in Warwickshire. It is a particularly interesting
record for more reasons. The immature coloration is still showing
through blue pruinescence in several places on the abdomen - this
suggests it is fairly young. The life cycle for the species in the UK is
believed to be 2 or 3 years. May be this is an "early 2017" emergence.
However Jill was not content with just a male and saw a female too and
watched the two mating. Was the female an "early" emerger too?
As the last flight table shows, some species are still flying. The most numerous are Common Darter and Migrant Hawker but also the occasional Southern Hawker. A lovely and also nearly pristine male of the last species was photographed by Kay Reeve at Bubbenhall Meadow, 15th October (on slide film, when it is processed an image will be put on this page).
September 21st - Black Darter at Pooley Country Park.
Jon Bowley spotted a Black Darter at Pooley Country Park Here is his report:
On September 21st during a LWS survey of
the giant colliery spoil mound at Pooley Country Park (SK258037) I came
across a male Black Darter sunbathing on a large patch of lichen
(probably Cladonia portentosa). This was at the foot of the spoil mound
on the east side where there is some good acid grassland and patches of
heather amongst the birches. I had a good view through binoculars but
when I tried to edge forward to get a picture with my phone it flew off
and I did not see it again.
Although presumably a vagrant, has anyone looked for it recently in the acid pools in Pooley CP to the north-west of this hill?
The last Black Darter recorded in Warwickshire was in September 2012 at
Middleton Hall. Vagrants appear in the county every few years but not
Records up to the 23rd September have been processed and the latest flights table updated. There is still time for more sightings - send them in.
The latest flights table has its first outing
for 2016. While the entry for some species may truly be the latest this
year we can expect more later records for many species. Please go out in
the next three or even four months and send in your records of what you
see. Last(?) year there were even a few individuals seen in January 2016 - not
As the note below the table of latest dates shows, late dates from
years before current one may extend the known flight period for a
species in Warwickshire and add to the knowledge of its phenology.
July 23rd - Heart of England Forest meeting report
Forest is the
legacy to the nation of publisher Felix Dennis. It is
3000 acres in extent with great ambitions for future
enlargement. The forest comprises a mix of woodland, grassland
and wetland areas. (See the Forest website: http://www.heartofenglandforest.com/.)
We were to visit two of the wetland areas at Middle
Spernall and Neatherstead.
Fourteen set off from Middle Spernall Farm through the deer fence to the
two pools in this part of the forest. The weather was warm and sunny - a
good day to find dragonflies. The first pool was a little
disappointing. A release of several hundred Mallard the previous year
had cleared it of almost all vegetation. The second pool was in better
condition for dragonflies and by the time we returned to our cars for
lunch we had recorded eight species there: Banded Demoiselle, Common
Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies; Brown Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly,
Black-tailed Skimmer and Ruddy and Common Darter.
After lunch we moved to the second site at Neatherstead. In this area
there are several pools of varying size. The photograph shows a pool
that received most attention from the group. It had good emergent,
floating and submerged vegetation. Here we recorded ten species: Emerald
Damselfly, Azure and Common Blue Damselfly, Red-eyed and Small Red-eyed
Damselfly; Emperor Dragonfly, Brown Hawker, Broad-bodied Chaser,
Black-tailed Skimmer and Ruddy Darter.
It was an enjoyable day and at the two sites visited a total of twelve
species were seen and recorded. Many thanks go the Head Forester Stephen
Coffey and his team for enabling the visit.
The weather was really poor when we left
home, cloudy, windy and raining. When our party of nine optimistic
odonatists assembled at the parking spot the rain cleared. Though it
cloudy and windy it was warm the rest of the day and there were
occasional brighter periods. In total we recorded eleven species. Nine
as flying adults and two as
exuvia only. A lot of Southern Hawker exuvia (20+) were found at one
One member of the party got so excited we finished up having to pull her out
of the pool. Luckily, the only damage sustained was a wellington full
The species list was: Emerald (20+), Blue-tailed (20+), Common Blue
(100+) and one Azure Damselflies; one Brown and 20+ Southern Hawker
exuvia; an Emperor Dragonfly exuvia; one exuvia and two adult
Four-spotted Chasers; a Black-tailed Skimmer; two adult Common Darter and an emergent
with its exuvia and one emergent Ruddy Darter.
What at the start appeared to be a hopeless day for dragonfly
recording turned out to be very enjoyable and productive.
Many new sightings have been received since the last update of
the news page on June 5th - thanks to those who
supplied them. The hiatus is the result of a 25 day trip to NW
Scotland followed by the competing pressures of processing the
records and getting out in the field to see dragonflies! Enough of
The data are now up to date on the website and all the records
received so far for 2016 are on the distribution maps. From the first flights table we see that all our
county breeding species are now on the wing. Also, no exotic
vagrant species have been reported yet this year.
The field meeting to Bubbenhall Meadow turned out to be a
sucessful and enjoyable day. The very ominous weather in the
morning ameliorated some what and we recorded eleven species. A
longer report will be made later.
Beautiful Demoiselle on the
Photo by Donna Mallon
A very interesting record for
this species was sent in by Donna Mallon. This male Beautiful Demoiselle
was photographed by Donna on the river Cole in Yardley Wood,
9th June. It is the furthest into the Birmingham conurbation
that the species has been recorded on the Cole, albeit by
only a few hundred metres. [Post publication note:
This sighting was erroneously put into Warwickshire but is just over
the border in Worcestershire. Des Jennings recorded the species at
almost the same location in 2014.] Des Jennings sent in a number of
records for further down the river, see the Report
for the 2014 BDS Darter journal.
Male Hairy Dragonfly at
Photo by Dave Mount
Dragonfly continues to appear at new sites. Annette
& Chris Baker spotted a male while doing their
monitoring transect at Ufton Fields on Grebe Pool the 9th
June. There is suitable breeding habitat at Ufton for the
species and it will be interesting to see what develops
there in the next few years.
There are more reports of Hairy at Brandon Marsh. Dave
Mount photographed this male on 25th May.
Several more were reported in the following weeks. This is
another site with plenty of suitable breeding habitat and
the species may already be breeding there. Proof of
breeding beyond doubt awaits either the sighting an
emerging individual prior to flying or locating an exuvia.
A nice project for next year!
As reported below,
breeding has been proved at Wormleighton Reservoir this
There have been a couple of sightings of Hairy Dragonfly
away from suitable breeding habitat - at Long
Itchington railway cutting and at Stockton locks. They are
likely to be maturing or prospecting individuals.
Mick Schilling has considerably extended the recorded
range of the species. In his email of 4th July
Sunday 3rd July,
Wixford, River Arrow, SP 08729 54410 one male adult
Scarce Chaser with signs of having mated. No
other individuals seen. This is first for me in 4 years
of visiting this location on a regular basis. Is it the
first Scarce Chaser away from the Avon in the county? I
am guessing it has wandered from Marlcliff, as the
confluence is not that far down stream of
marlcliff lock? [See photo on the left]
It is the first report of the species away from the Avon and
by about 4km. as the Scarce Chaser flies. Mick's supposition
that it was just a lone wanderer was contradicted by his
seeing two mated males on the same part of the Arrow 17th
July. Mick will have to spend time looking for exuvia there
in two years time!
Kay and Peter Reeve visited the Avon about a mile upstream
of Bidford bridge at Barton on 10th July. On the
bank by the Dorsington Forest car park good numbers of
Scarce Chaser were found on about a 300/400 metre length.
This is the farthest up the Avon the even year population
has been recorded. Kay was able to photograph five males.
The mating marks, or lack of them, on the abdomen shows they
are different individuals, Check for your self by clicking
through the images.
On a subsequent visit to the Avon on 17th July
the species was much less evident. None were found on a
search upstream of the Barton car park to the lock (about
300/400 metres of bank) and a repeated search of the length
of bank visited on the 10th was fruitless too -
that is, until one male was seen on the walk back to the car
park. It could be because they are dispersing further up the
Avon - but a quick visit to Welford later in the day
Without doubt, the species is expanding its range and
increasing numbers in the Avon water basin and it is well
worth keeping an eye out for them on the Avon and
- Stop press!! Scarce Chaser breeding proved in Warwickshire
Kay Reeve found a Scarce
Chaser exuvia at Marlcliff on the Avon. The first positive
proof that the species is successfully completing its life cycle
in Warwickshire. A little further up the bank Peter Reeve found a
badly damaged, moribund preflight emergent.
- Alvecote Wood field meeting proves Hairy Dragonfly is breeding
Group about to set off.
Emerging Four-spotted Chaser
at Alvecote Wood
We arrived in very promising
bright and warm conditions after a particularly vile
Saturday. The nine visitors with our two hosts, Sarah
Walters and Stephen Briggs, set off full of hope to Betty's
Wood. a area of woodland, newly planted, in 2010 that
includes areas of grassland and, for us more importantly,
ponds hoping to prove breeding of Hairy Dragonfly.
We arrived at the first of the ponds and almost immediately
saw a female Hairy
Dragonfly ovipositing and were entertained by a number
Chasers including a some emerging. An exuvia hunt
ensued and it was not long before a keen eyed observer
spotted the first Hairy exuvia of the day - Hairy breeding
was proved. Howard deployed his patent exuvia recovery
device to collect it.
We continued our observations and in the next two hours
counted between six and eight male Hairy Dragonflies holding
territory and collected a total of six exuvia on three
different ponds in Betty's Wood. There were loads of
emerging Four-spots and even more Four-spot exuvia. Also,
twenty or so Large
Red Damselflies, a few Azure Damselflies
and fewer Blue-tailed
Everything went just perfectly and we were really pleased to
be able to prove breeding of Hairy Dragonfly Alvecote Wood,
a new breeding site for Warwickshire.
We owe thanks to our host, Sarah and Stephen, and hope to
make a visit in the future.
- Proof of breeding
Hairy Dragonflies at Wormleighton Reservoir plus Red-eyed
Damselflies and Beautiful
Demoiselle on the Stour
Hairy Dragonfly exuvia at
Kay and Peter Reeve went to
Wormleighton Reservoir hoping to find evidence of breeding
Hairy Dragonflies there. Adults have been seen there in five
of the last eight years and have show breeding behaviour but
no emerging adults or exuvia had been found to positively
prove sucessful breeding.
Kay and Peter went straight to the nearest fishing platform
and scanned the marginal reed bed. Almost immediately an
exuvia was spotted and quickly a second was found. The photo
to the left shows one of them. They were both about three to
four inches above the water level and two to three feet from
the waters edge - too far out from the edge to easily
recover without considerable wetting. It was decided to
employ the "wet stick recovery method" to collect them. The
exuvia are dislodged using walking poles causing them to
drop into the water, they are then recovered by putting the
pole basket under the floating exuvia to which it will
adhere. It can then be gently landed. The wet exuvia are
potted and dried at home. We now have positive proof that Hairy Dragonfly
successfully completes its life cycle at Wormleighton
Reservoir - it is the third site in Warwickshire where there
is positive proof of breeding.
Red-eyed Damselfly at Wormleighton Reservoir
On the same visit to
Wormleighton three newly emerged Red-eyed damselflies
were seen in the bank side vegetation at the north end of
the reservoir, the first record this species in VC38 this
year - so far. In the same area were a number of Blue-tailed and Azure Damselflies
including one copulating pair of Blue-tails.
Beautiful Demoiselle, River
Photo by: Jill Roberts
Jill Roberts photographed
Demoiselle at Weston Mill on the River Stour. The
first record for this species in Warwickshire this year.
May 12th -
Blue-tailed and Azure Damselflies emerging at Wormleighton
Jonathan Bowley visited Wormleighton Reservoir and made the first
record received for Blue-tailed
and Azure Damselflies
in the county. As he says:
Good news from
Wormleighton Reservoir on a short visit at lunchtime today (May 12th)
– one Hairy Dragonfly on north-west bank (SP426518) and on
adjoining hedge. I thought that they had probably gone from here.
Also about 20+
newly emerged Blue-tailed Damselflies and c.10 Azure Damselflies
in the same area. These are the first dragonflies I have seen in
the county this year.
It is good news about the Hairy Dragonfly, the
last record was for 2014 - none were recorded there last year. The
record is well in the emergence period for the species, could it
have emerged at the Reservoir?
May 8th -
Flying Hairy Dragonflies and Four-spotted Dragonfly
Emerging female Hairy
A visit to Stockton Quarry
today by Kay and Peter Reeve proved very successful after
some searching. Two emerging female Hairy Dragonflies
beside their exuvia were found. A photo of one of the
females is shown on the left. A third exuvia was also found.
The only other odonates seen were three newly emerged Large Red
Damselflies. On a visit on the 4th May to Stockton
there were no dragonflies. It is probable these were the
first Hairy Dragonflies to emerge at Stockton this year, the
odd exuvia recovered was very fresh and could have emerged
Jim Timms has sent in the first report for Four-spotted
Chaser seen at Bubbenhall Meadow among more than a
dozen Large Red Damselflies. He says in his mail: All were disturbed from
the vegetation as we passed or we may not have seen
anything. Nothing on the ponds.
Annette and Chris Baker did their first 2016 monitoring
transect today and found four Large Red Damselflies at one
of the three pools they survey.
May 7th -
First Flying Banded Demoiselle and more Large Red Damselflies
Large Red Damselfly,
Maggie Perris sent the following email from the Middleton
Lakes RSPB monitoring team:
Disappointing 1st survey today[ [6 May]. Nothing showing
despite good or even excellent conditions . However, on
stopping for a little luncheon on nearby bench, we were
treated to a beautiful male demosoiselle that stayed,
perched for ages allowing all of us, including a new
recruit, an excellent view .
This is the first flying Banded
Demioselle of 2016 in the county. It almost
certainly from the Tame which runs through the Reserve.
The Tame is proving productive, Andy Barnsley recorded
several more today, 7th May, further upstream
at Coton. The Tame is obviously an early river, the first
Banded Demoiselle last year was also sighted at Middleton
New sighting of
Large Red Damselflies at Alvecote Wood by Sarah
Walters and Mick Schilling on 3rd and 4th
Kay and Peter Reeve turned up a couple of Large Red
Damselflies at Snitterfield Bushes on 5th May - a
photo of a female is shown, left.
- First record of the year for Large Red Damselfly in the county
date for the years 2000 to 2016 is 22nd April.
The flight season has begun. Three Large Red
Damselflies were seen By Jim Timms at Bubbenhall
Meadow. As the first flights table
shows it is not the earliest of years. However it is
interesting to look at historical early dates. The
histogram on the left shows the earliest dates for the
Large Red Damselfly for the period from 2000. It shows
that this year's date is is slightly earlier than the mean
date for the period of 22nd April. Though, it
is later than the flight dates for four of the previous
five years. The dates for 2001 and 2013 of the 5th
May are worth a comment. The spring of 2013 was very cold
and the late May date does reflect that. The date in 2001
probably does not, it was the year of the foot and mouth
epidemic and restrictions delayed recording in the wider
countryside. The specimen seen on the 5th May
emerged from our garden pond.
2016 - Report for 2015 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 Warwickshire, VC 38. It is slightly different from the
published copy - some editing was done.
Warwickshire – VC 38
Kay and Peter Reeve
Emerging dragonflies had a slow start in
the county in 2015 and their individual numbers were down.
No species was early and some spring species were two or
more weeks behind their earliest date in the county. Southern
HawkerAeshna cyanea was first seen on 14th
June compared with the earliest ever date ever of 10thMay.
Brown Hawker A. grandis was also a month
late at 19th June. For most species that set
the trend for the year
All county breeding species appeared in the end with the
exception of Club-tailed DragonflyGomphus
vulgatissimus. The status of the Club-tail on the
Avon, not just in VC 38 but in Worcestershire too, appears
very precarious. It is not clear what is happening to it.
Our small and growing population of Scarce Chaser Libellula fulva on the Avon near Bidford is doing
well on its two year cycle (2015 is an “off” year).
Further, in the highlight of the year, a new immigration
of the species arrived on the Avon at Charlecote Park.
This is some 12 miles upstream of the Bidford population.
The first individual was photographed by Mick Schilling on
5th July and on subsequent visits to the site
more were seen with a maximum of three individuals on one
visit. All those seen were males holding territory.
The number of record received in 2015 was down on the
2014 record of 1623 by about 200. But given the weather
conditions of the year, which deterred both dragonflies
and recorders, it is a good total.