Warwickshire Dragonfly Group


Warwickshire Dragonfly Atlas - Recording Information Page

Warwickshire Wildlife Simple Monitoring Protocol

Dragonfly Monitoring and Recording

What happens to your records

Dragonfly Monitoring and Recording

Monitoring changes of dragonflies populations over the years needs a standard recording procedure to be followed. The recording protocol below has been developed by the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) to meet monitoring requirements. By following the protocol the value of your contribution to the monitoring of national and regional populations is maximised. There are basic requirements that must be adhered to in order to satisfy the requirements. In addition there are a number of extra requirements that increase the value of what you do if you can fulfil them.

Even if you do not follow the protocol your records are still valuable and will help determine species distribution and breeding status but they will not be suitable for population monitoring.

Monitoring protocol

Monitoring must be at water bodies: pond, lake, river or canal. This is because dragonflies must return to water to breed but can disperse widely when away from breeding sites. Recording in sites away from water bodies, e.g. woodland, is not suitable for population monitoring although records from these areas are still useful in determining distribution.

The weather conditions are important when monitoring adult dragonflies to ensure there is a reasonable chance of them being active. Ideally there should be less than 60% cloud cover, little wind (no more than Force 3) and an air temperature of at least 15°C. Remember these are ideal conditions but it must be bright and warm.

Basic protocol requirements:

1. Record the date of your visit – day/month/year.
2. Record the location by name (on OS map) and, very importantly, give the OS grid reference to at least six figures (easy with a GPS device).
3. Record the presence of all species that you see. This is very important because the statistical technique used to track population trends will imply that any species not on your list is absent on that occasion.

 These are the three basic requirements to ensure that your records are valuable for monitoring.

The following extra requirements give added value:

4. Try to make repeated visits to the location(s) you visit - up to at least three times a year through the spring/summer period May to September. Monthly would be ideal if practical. This is the most important extra requirement.
6. Record estimates of the numbers of each species seen. Remember it is an estimate and can be recorded in a number category. The categories are defined below.
7. Record breeding activities and life cycle seen for each species. For the list of activity/cycle see below.This is important in assessing what species are or might be breeding at a site.

Numbers categories

When monitoring it may be more practical to estimate the number of each species present rather than counting to absolute numbers. Estimate codes are A=1, B=2-5, C=6-20, D=21-100, E=101-500 & F=500+.

Activities and life cycle

Try to give information on activity and life cycle together with numbers. That is: Adult (Ad), Copulating Pairs (Co), Ovipositing (Ov), and, if you are confident of your identification, Larva (La) Exuvia (Ex), Pre-flight Emergent (Em). Use the symbol 'y' to indicate the activity/stage without a numbers estimate. This information is very important in assessing the likelihood of breeding of a species at a site.

Example of how to supply the records

A good example of how the data might be supplied where all the above information is recorded is shown below. It is very important that you clearly state if you have recorded all species seen.

To Peter Reeve.
By email to; peter@reeve60.org.uk - Preferred option.
Or by post to: The Outspan, Leamington Hastings', CV23 8DZ

Stockton Railway Cutting
Kay and Peter Reeve
Field Record

All species: yes

Large Red Damselfly

Azure Damselfly 172


Common Blue Damselfly 11

Four-Spotted Chaser

Black-Tailed Skimmer y

If you prefer there is a paper Warwickshire Odonata Record Form which you can fill in by hand and send to Peter Reeve. But supplying records by email is much preferred. A PDF copy can be down loaded and printed from here.

An example of a filled record form is shown below.

Example RA70

Send records to:

Peter Reeve, WDG co-ordinator,
The Outspan
Leamington Hastings
Near Rugby
Warwickshire CV23 8DZ

Or email: peteratreeve60dotorgdotuk

What happens to your records

The atlas of the distribution of dragonflies and damselflies of Warwickshire is currently published only on this website. The distribution maps for the species are generated using the data supplied by recorders. In the future the Atlas may be published in booklet form.

The Atlas is only as good as the records it is based on. When records are received they are checked and, if necessary, more information will be requested from the recorder. Records are entered into a computer database especially designed for recording dragonflies and based on the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) Darter package. Once the data is in Darter it enables the rapid and automated update of the distribution maps and other information for the website as records are received.

At year end all the records for Warwickshire gathered during the year are sent to the National Dragonfly Recording Network co-ordinated by the British Dragonfly Society (BDS). The BDS does additional checks on the data and integrate the Warwickshire records with all the records received from across the British Isles. The integrated data are sent on to the National Biodiversity Network Gateway web site. (The web address of this site is: http://data.nbn.org.uk/.) The casual visitor to the NBN web site can interrogate databases for different groups of organisms (not just dragonflies) and produce 10km square dot distribution maps for different species. More privileged levels of access to the data are available on request.

The data are a valuable resource available to help in the conservation and study of dragonflies. The data will become even more valuable over future years as more records are acquired.So please make a point of recording what you see in the current year and send your records to Peter Reeve.

Banner artwork by Joan Sharrett

Last updated Tue Jul 07 17:17:28 2015

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