A species that I would never expected in the garden pond today, club tailed dragonfly drowned (unfortunately) on surface. Several Common darter now hatching and a passing demoiselle. Bring on the sunshine!
Three male, three female Red-eyed Damselflies, one pair copulating, and two Blue-tailed Damselflies, Deep Lake Chichester Gravel Pits.
Large Red damselflies have been emerging daily from our 2 ponds in Cuckfield since Monday 2 May and today we had our first Azure Blue and Broad-bodied Chaser.
A male Beautiful Demoiselle spotted by my dad at East Chiltington on Wednesday.
Two Large Red Damselflies observed at close range by the pond at the west entrance to Tottington Woods, Small Dole yesterday morning. A number of other damselflies were flying further away and could not be positively ID'd.
We spotted four fresh Large Red Damselflies yesterday emerging from a pond by a private ancient woodland nr Nutley. The season is begrudgingly starting!
A visit to Broadwater Warren heathland on the 28th August gave good signtings of Common Darter, Migrant Hawker, Azure Damselfly, and occasional Brown Hawker and a Golden-ringed Dragonfly. An impressive level of activity considering the cooler weather.
Just a note to say that the field trip to Old Lodge and Moorlands on the Ashdown Forest with John Luck this Sunday (26th July) is now going to be on Saturday (25th July) due to the bad weather forecast.
We hope you can still make it along!
All the best, Penny
A survey of Mitchelham Priory provided a good variety of odonata yesterday, including Azure and Large Red Damselfly, Brown Hawker, Emperor and many Black tailed Skimmer. Plenty of breeding activity was observed!
On the 11th June myself, Julie and Malcolm Redford ventured out in to the southern area of the Knepp Rewilding project, to do our first dragonfly survey of the year, and we weren't disappointed! We saw 12 species and this included the Scarce Chaser - 18 of them! Of which were 14 were male, 2 immature and 2 female. White-legged Damselfly was another goody. Please look in the photo gallery!
Amendment for 24th May. Four Emperor dragonflies emerged from our pond in Cuckfield during the week starting 24th May. The larvae climbed the Common Rush between 7pm and 9pm and emerged fully between 8pm and 11pm. Two pictures are attached.
3 Downy Emerald males, 4 Downy Emerald exuviae, 1 Four-spotted Chaser, lots of Azure and Large Red Damselflies and a fleeting view of a male Beautiful Demoiselle yesterday at the Woodland Trust's Lake Wood site, just north of Uckfield. The site has some excellent access to the water's edge, affording very good views of these species.
Single male Emperor over our garden pond in Birdham this afternoon.
Our first Azure Blue Damselfly and second Broad Bodied Chaser (both female) emerged from our pond in Cuckfield today (TQ30412449). There have also been 4-6 Large Red Damselflies per day for the last week.
1 Male Hairy Dragonfly at Malling Down, Lewes Friday afternoon (24/4/15)
Our first Broad Bodied Chaser (female) emerged from our pond in Cuckfield today (TQ30412449). There have also been 2-3 Large Red Damselflies per day for the last week.
1 Large Red Damseflly today in central Hailsham, I assume it came from some local balancing ponds.
A female Hairy Dragonfly at Medmerry RSPB Reserve this morning (20/4/15)
1 more Large Red Damselfly emerged from our neighbour's pond on Wednesday 15th April and we have our first one today. (Cuckfield - TQ30412449). Julie and Malcolm Redford
1 Large Red Damselfly emerged from our neighbour's pond today in Cuckfield (TQ30412449). This is 13 days later than our earliest record of 1st April 2012. Julie and Malcolm Redford
On Saturday we spotted a Southern Hawker and a Common Darter making the most of the sun whilst it lasts, on our garden pond (nr Wisborough Green). Talking of my pond, you will read all about it in the autumn dragonfly newsletter which will be with you soon!
At Pulborough Brooks a late flying Male Common Blue Damselfly still flitting around the margins of the new dragonfly pool.
West Langley Lake, nr Eastbourne produced a flurry of late summer dragonflies on Monday afternoon (15/09/14). Around the edges of the lake many mature male Migrant Hawkers held territory, whilst a few late Common Blue Damselfly flew over the water between gusts of wind. A female Brown Hawker patrolled the adjoining ditch. A few Common Darters were also spotted.
Our second visit this year to Knepp Castle Estate was on 3rd September. It was sunny, 19 – 23C with some light cloud and a very light breeze. We started at 10.15 in the southern half of the estate. There were approximately 7 each of Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed damselflies, 2 male Beautiful Demoiselle, 10 Brown Hawkers and too many Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers to count, 1 Ruddy Darter – male and 5 Southern Hawkers. Heavy cloud appeared over lunchtime but conditions improved by 2pm and at a small lake in the northern part of the estate there were 1 each of Azure and Blue-tailed damselflies, too many Common blue damselflies to count, 1 Common Darter, 12 Migrant Hawkers and 6 Ruddy Darters. A total of 9 species was recorded. The total number of species recorded this year is 18 and if the Black-tailed Skimmer recorded by Paul James in his Baseline survey in 2005 is included the total number of species within the Knepp Castle Estate is a very respectable 19.
There are plenty of Migrant Hawkers on the wing braving the warm wet weather!
Apologies for the late posting. We attended the Sussex Recording Day at Woolbeding Common on 7th June. The weather gradually improved to become a warm, sunny day with a light breeze. An enthusiastic group of recorders met in the National Trust marquee near Redford (just NW of Midhurst) and armed with maps and advice from Fiona Scully and Bruce Middleton set off for the day. Redford Pond was a good size with rich marginal vegetation and trees. We saw: 2 Four-spotted Chasers, 4 Downy Emeralds and large numbers of Azures, Blue-tailed, Red-eyed and Large Reds. Up the slope NE of Redford Pond was a small pond near a cottage. It had Large Reds and Azures in large numbers. Returning down the slope we saw a Golden-ringed Dragonfly resting on the bracken and giving good views (see photo). It was the first record of one for Woolbeding Common. We finished the day walking along the River Rother where the numbers of Beautiful and Banded Demoiselles and Large Reds were too great to count. We must mention the delicious lunch provided by the National Trust which set us up for the afternoon and helped make the day very enjoyable.
We have visited Nymans 3 times recently: 21 July and 7 and 13 August. The weather each time was sunny and warm with a light breeze. On our first visit we recorded 4 Beautiful Demoiselles, 2 Large Reds, many Azures and Common Blues, 1 Migrant Hawker, 5 Southern Hawkers, 12 Brown Hawkers, 3 Downy Emeralds and a few each of Emperors, Broad-bodied Chasers, Ruddy Darters and Common Darters. Our second visit had similar results while yesterday we found huge numbers of Common Darters and 8 Migrants - see photo of female which settled on an old nettle (Migrants have not been recorded at Nymans before).
On the 24 July we visited 2 small ponds to the south of Cuckfield Churchyard where we saw 50+Azures and 12+ Red-eyed, Common and Blue-tailed damselflies. There were also several Brown Hawkers and Emperors, 4 Common Darters and 1 Southern.
On the 25 July we visited our survey lakes to the south of Cuckfield. It was very hot 25C+ and sunny with a light breeze. The lakes are tree lined and apart from the southern lake very overgrown. We found similar species to last year: many hundreds of Azures and Common Blues, good numbers of Red-eyed, Blue-tailed, Brown Hawker, Emperor and Common Darter, 2 Downy Emerald and 2 Ruddy Darters ( not recorded here before).
John Luck reports back from the Ashdown Forest Adventure on 2nd August:
A delightful group of dragonfly-spotters turned out for the Ashdown Forest Field Trip on Saturday, probably 25+, but with various toings and froings it is difficult to be precise. The threatened thunder and lightning did not materialise and we were remarkably treated to a rain free day.
The target species - Black Darter, Keeled Skimmer and Small Red Ds - at Old Lodge were soon found in a variety of maturing stages with brief views of hawkers - Brown and Southern - and extended views of a perched Migrant Hawker. Emperors held territory over various ponds. Further darters - Common and Ruddy - were found with several of the former newly-emerged. Further damselflies - Azure, Large Red, Common Blue and Blue-tailed - were seen and several Emerald Ds,which are really relishing the recent hot and humid weather were studied in depth. Also an unexpected sighting of a Banded Demoiselle.
Chasers were in short supply apart from a lone Four-spotted and a Broad-bodied, which had perished in one of the boggy pools.
We headed down to Keeches Stream for lunch and awaited the arrival of a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, which duly flew past several times before finally perching to allow everyone to appreciate its stunning markings.
Thus 17 species were totted up, not including the perished chaser.
Onward to Moorlands where we were greeted by Mark and Lucy Love. Here we enjoyed perfect views of several Brown Hawkers including egg-laying females and a Southern Hawker keeping a low profile on the farther side of one of the ponds. 3 new species were found, all damselflies - White-legged, Red-eyed and Small Red-eyed - to bring our day's total to 20 species. No sighting of a Brilliant Emerald, which had been seen here 2 weeks ago so we wondered if perhaps its flight season had finished. Though more likely it just decided not to appear.
As ever, the Loves had laid on a sumptuous fare which was washed down with a well-earned cuppa......our grateful thanks to them for their continuing generosity.
(photos uploaded in to the gallery).
With the forecast thankfully wrong over twenty of us enjoyed a very rewarding Saturday on the annual Old Lodge/Moorlands trip. 19 species (though some may have seen more) were spotted including excellent views of small reds, black/red/ruddy darters, keeled skimmers and egg laying southern and brown hawkers only the emerald dragonflies eluded us. But this was more than made for by the hospitality at Moorlands. If only all recording days ended in a cream tea!
Yesterday here at Knowlands Farm, Barcombe I took my camera to see how many butterfly species I could "shoot" and photographed in passing Ruddy and Common Darter and Emperor dragonflies, both Demoiselles, Azure, Common Blue, Blue-tailed, White-legged and Red-eyed damsels as well as 18 species of Butterfly. Other dragons wouldn't settle for a photo.
A pond near Hailsham Leisure Centre came up trumps for exuviae last week, despite the torrential downpours experienced in the preceding days. Exuviae found included 3 Emperor, 7 Migrant Hawker and 13 Common Darter. No adult Migrant Hawkers were observed around the pond.
We enjoyed a walk around the beautiful Nymans estate in ideal dragonfly weather on Tuesday and found 12 species. There were 3 Downy Emeralds and 2 Ruddy Darters. There were large numbers of Azures, Common Blues and Brown Hawkers and small numbers of Beautiful Demoiselles, Large Reds, Migrant Hawkers, Southerns, Emperors, Broad-bodied Chasers and Common Darters.
4 male Red-veined Darters at West Rise Marsh, Eastbourne. On the eastern pool which now has a jetty with a thatched hut on the end
Pond surveying a farm north of Cuckfield on the 17/07 turned up Common Blue, Azure, Emerald, Red Eyed and Blue-tailed Damselflies. Common Darters, Broad-bodied Chaser, Brown Hawker, Emperors, Downy Emerald and a male Black Tailed Skimmer.
A stiflingly humid day was spent wondering around the ditches of Etchingham yesterday in the company of 19 very lovely people. Banded Demoiselles were in abundance, and by far the most numerous species of the day, with a couple of Beautiful Demoiselles here and there to add a bit of variety! We were treated to several prolonged viewings of probably three different Golden-ringed Dragonflies, offering us plenty of photo opportunities as they perched so nicely for us. A White-legged Damselfly posed beautifully for us, so that we could get a good look at all of its key identification features and a few Blue-tailed Damselflies made brief appearances. A Brown Hawker was seen fleetingly by a few of the group, and in the afternoon a couple of Migrant Hawkers treated us to some aerial acrobatics, not staying still enough for us to admire their markings! Later on in the afternoon we decided to visit a big scrape on an adjacent bit of land, and we were rewarded with a few additions to the list, including Emperor, Ruddy Darter, Azure Damselfly and Common Blue Damselfly (who posed together for us so that we could compare the difference!) Distant rumbles of thunder heralded going-home time!
We had a glorious day for our dragonfly field trip to Chithurst Monastery and Hammer Wood on Saturday (12th July) with 29 of us in total. Aside from all of the chatting and beautiful serene surroundings we enjoyed seeing 12 species of Odonata, with highlights in the bird and butterfly categories too. First of all we spent some time at a beautiful pond within the monastery grounds, where we recorded good numbers of Azure Damselfly, 2 Emerald Damselfly, 1 Four-spotted Chaser, 1 Common and 1 Ruddy Darter, 1 Large Red Damselfly, 1 Blue-tailed Damselfly and 2 ovipositing female Emperors. Off to a good start! We then headed up a lovely country lane, and spotted some Beautiful Demoiselles from the bridge over a tributary of the River Rother, magical in the dappled sun. Onwards to a pool near the woods, where Beautiful Demoiselles, Azure Damsels and Blue-tailed Damsels were seen, as was a Silver-washed Fritillary and a nesting Spotted Flycatcher - a rarity to see this these days.
We walked onwards and up through a woodland to a huge lake, where Downy Emerald, Brown Hawker and Red-eyed Damselfly were added to the list, as was a Kingfisher. Then up through the open glades full of Silver-washed Fritillaries where we spotted and deliberated over a dragonfly which ended up being a Southern Hawker - another one for the list, and a fleeting glimpse of a White Admiral. Another good butterfly atlas record. As we walked through a lovely bit of open heath, we enjoyed seeing Dodder in flower and a mystery moth turned out to be the rare Notable A Clay Fanfoot! See the gallery for a couple of photos of the day.
Along a short stretch of the River Arun near Amberley 4 male Common Clubtails were on view.
2 male Brilliant Emeralds flying and settling round the small pools by the bridge at Old Lodge with passing Golden ringed and an Emperor reducing the damselfly population.
3 Red-veined Darters at the new RSPB reserve at Bracklesham Bay ('Medmerry'). There are some very promising looking pools here for dragonflies. One photo uploaded.
Both male and female Norfolk Hawkers have been recorded in East Blean Woods in Kent, it's rather a distance away from Sussex, but it's an exciting find, and one worth reporting to the Sussex gang just on the off-chance that they make it here to Sussex at some point! I have uploaded a couple of photos from Damian Pinguey who kindly sent them in, just so we all know what to look for! All the best, Penny
On Iping Common SWT Reserve today we saw a nice selection of dragonflies and damselflies, including a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, 10 Four-spotted Chasers, 2 male and 1 ovipositing Emperor Dragonfly, good numbers of both Common Blue and Azure Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly. Happy Days!
Following my previous post about Woods Mill lake, and the recovery of the dragonfly population following the removal of the carp from the lake, I was pleased to see last week the next wave of dragonflies and damselflies on the wing at Woods Mill, with the lake being the central hub.
In my lunchtime stroll I counted nine species in total, all vying for their positions on this prime patch of water. Three four-spotted chasers battled over the lake, whilst three emperors came head-to-head whilst arranging their territorial boundaries. Two downy emeralds had a go at each other and an innocent hairy dragonfly that happened to be passing. On the lily-pads things were a little more chilled out with red-eyed damselflies soaking up the rays, and the azure damselflies were enjoying a little ‘amour’ around the lake margins. Large red and blue-tailed damselflies, and beautiful demoiselles, were spotted fluttering around the vegetated edges of the lake in the dappled shade of the alder trees.
Sunny calm days like today are perfect for dragonfly-spotting, so find your nearest watery habitat and see what you can find! Happy hunting!
With the Common Clubtail emergence over, adults are returning to the Rivers. On the West Sussex Rother on 10th June were 2 superb 'green' males but more interesting was a female carrying, I presume that is, an egg-mass on the underside of the tip of her abdomen. I've never seen that before and can find no mention in various reference books. There's always something to learn!
Just as a first test post, a male Scarce Chaser in the corner of Burton Mill Pond by the boat ramp on 6th June, in exactly the same spot as last year when I photographed it on 8th June.
As you may have read in previous posts from the Sussex Wildlife Trust, in January 2013 the lake at Woods Mill was cleared of about 1,800 carp which were having a massively detrimental affect on the wildlife found in the lake, and this included dragonflies and damselflies. We have recorded over 20 species of dragons and damsels in the past, but in more recent years we were noticing a drop off in the number of species, and also in the number of individuals on the lake. No doubt the carp where eating the larvae and adults like tasty little snacks. After the fish were removed, the lake was left dry for a few months to allow it to start again from new. We’re just starting to see the beneficial effects of having done this, with beautiful clear water and thriving aquatic vegetation and, as Sussex Wildlife Trust Senior Ecologist Graeme Lyons reported a few weeks ago, a pair of little grebe along with several other waterbirds. A quick walk around the lake at lunchtime on May 19th resulted in a male and female hairy dragonfly, a female broad-bodied chaser, lots of copulating azure damselflies and large red damselflies. The numbers were looking good, and we hope that we will see lots of other species arriving over the coming months and successful breeding on the lake, which we should see the results of in the next one or two years.
We attended the Knepp Recording Weekend on the 24th and 25th May. Although the group was smaller than last year there was a very good cross-section of expertise which we thought worked very well both from a social and recording aspect. As for our own area of interest, Sunday's weather was ideal for dragonflies. In all we recorded 12 species which is very encouraging for early in the season.
Those seen were:
Damselflies: Very large number of Blue-tailed, Azure and Beautiful Demoiselles. Smaller numbers of Large Red, Red-eyed, Variable - 1 and Banded Demoiselles.
Dragonflies: Large number of Hairy. Smaller number of Broad-bodied Chasers - 12, Scarce Chasers - 1, Four-spotted Chaser - 1 and Emperors - 3.
Most of the above were seen around the Hammer Pond which provides ideal dragonfly habitat, the stream below the Safari project and the pond adjacent to Waggstaffs Wood. We hope to add to this list as the season goes on.
Many thanks to Charlie for the weekend and the excellent BBQ. All involved were saying how much they enjoyed it.
We have attached 3 pictures taken on Sunday.
Julie and Malcolm
Location for my post Imberhorne Lane, East Grinstead TQ377372
First sighting of 2 No Broad bodied Chasers on the wing in the bramble garden borders with the adjoining field, which is also full of Lge Red, Comm Blue, Azure, Blue tailed and I think White Legged Damselflies, We inherited a reasonable pond in the garden but these Damsels range far into the field borders except Lge Red which prefer close proximity.
What a difference it makes having a digital camera these days: My colleague Graham Roberts took a picture of a part-immature male Scarce Chaser on the wing at Slaugham Mill Pond yesterday too!
My first Black-tailed Skimmer of the year. Adult female in Rewell Wood at TQ002101 late afternoon Sunday 18th May. Photo posted to gallery.
Slaugham Mill Pond had a number of dragonfly on the wing today observed from the Public Footpath: Lots of Large Red Damselfly, Azure & Common Damselfly, Red-eyed Damselfly, Broad-bodied Chaser, two Male Hairy Dragonfly and a Downy Emerald Dragonfly patrolling the margins!
I had my first four spotted chaser today which was also a first for the pond
Surveying a series on ponds on a farm near Ringmer on Wednesday I saw 4 hairys, 4 broad-bodied chasers, 100's of azures, large reds and my first teneral emperor of the year during the day. But the best was at night when I went back to survey for newts and found over 50 emerging emperors at one pond.
Our first broad-bodied chaser of the year. In our garden in Cuckfield today. Julie and Malcolm.
My first broad-bodied chaser of the year today, on Lane End Common Chailey.
Female Hairy perched up in Whitehouse Wood near Heathfield this morning sheltering from the wind. I will try to add a picture.
2 male and 1 female Hairy Dragonflies Kithurst Meadow Springhead Hill 7th May
One female Beautiful Demoiselle near Hadlow Down seen during a meadow survey and another one here in Plumpton in the afternoon. I've only seen one teneral dragonfly so far and it flew over a hedge so I couldn't ID it!
Lots of Blue-tailed Damselfly and Large Reds emerging from Chichester Canal today, braving the blustery wind.
Pauline Chandler reports seeing a Hairy Dragonfly today (06/05/14) on Kithurst Hill. I saw one there in late April several years back - a seemingly unusual location to see them.
Lots of freshly emerged Large Red Damselflies took their maiden flight from Lancing Brook in Shipley on the 24th April, with the occasional Banded Demoiselle taking flight. A Broad-bodied Chaser was also resting in the reeds enjoying the fine weather (see photo).
Two Hairy Dragonfly at the northern end of Rewell Wood today (TQ002102).
In reply to Jon Wood's question about the earliest Large Red Damselfly record in Sussex, it was indeed Julie and Malcolm Redford and it was in their garden pond on 1st April 2012!
Alf Simpson has just reported a Broad-bodied Chaser spotted on his Partridge Green garden pond this morning. Another species out earlier than usual! Thanks for the sighting Alf!
One, possibly two, Hairy Dragonfly at Springhead Hill today TQ068125.
A single female Variable Damselfly at Amberley Wildbrooks today just before the clouds came. TQ030139. Also a total of 19 Large Reds seen.
Single Blue-Tailed Damselfly at Southease Station Ponds. TQ431053
8 Large Red Damselflies 3 with wet wings, and 1 Hairy Dragonfly in the woods at Herstmonceux Castle.
Post botanical wet woodland survey yesterday a teneral beautiful demoiselle flew over us and landed in some goat willows from the Plumpton Mill Stream.
One recently emerged large red damselfly and one separate exuvia on my neighbours pond today. Will now be looking for Demoiselles as well.
Immature male Beautiful Demoiselle at Wiston (TQ144142) today - by far my earliest record.
Well done Julie! I thought it would be early but that's impressive. Out of interest what is the earliest record for Sussex Penny?
2 Large Red Damselflies seen at Warnham LNR dipping ponds this morning. Both looking very new.
Meant to add the grid ref. TQ05981618 for the Pulborough Brooks sighting. Julie
Common Darter female seen at 1pm in warm sunshine on Tuesday 26th November at Pulborough Brooks - basking on a log next to Julie Snook's bench on the Tumuli. This seems quite late in the season? Julie and Malcolm Redford.
We can't match Dave Sadler's exciting find but we saw a female Common Darter at Sheffield Park yesterday on the small lake closest to the car park TQ41522386.
Wow! Just when we thought that the dragonfly season was coming to an end...Dave Sadler spotted a beautiful male VAGRANT EMPEROR at Shoreham Old Fort on 30th October and then again on 2nd November! A photo has been uploaded in to the photo gallery and you can read more about it in the forthcoming dragonfly autumn newsletter which will be with you soon! This is only the second record we have for this species in Sussex - the last time was in 2011 in the Pannel Valley. Good spot Dave!
To my suprise and delight this morning I saw (and snapped with my phone - see Photos) a male Emperor at Widewater, a saline lagoon, nr Shoreham. The salinity of this waterbody is higer than sea water at the moment so I don't know why it was hanging around there - I saw two around the margins of the site a month ago.
Several Migrant Hawker were on the wing in Stanmer Park on 22/09/13 taking advantage of the warm weather.
From Julie and Malcolm Redford
On the 4th September we visited Lower Lake at Gravetye Manor TQ366340. The weather was bright, calm and 25C +. The banks are very overgrown with reeds and for the most part lined with trees. We saw a large number of Migrant Hawkers, 6 Brown Hawkers, 6 Southern Hawkers along with large numbers of Common Darters and Common Blue Damselflies. The path around the lake is accessible to the public in the summer months.
Visit to Knepp Castle Estate - 22nd and 27th August.
The first day was dull and windy - not good for dragonflies. The second, on Tuesday last week was perfect 24C, sunny and calm. In all we found 9 species. They were: Damselflies - Common Blues, Blue-tailed, Banded Demoiselles and Beautiful Demoiselles. Dragonflies seen were: - Migrant Hawkers, Southern Hawkers, Brown Hawkers, Common Darter and Ruddy Darter. By far the most numerous at this time were the Migrant Hawkers, Common Darters and Common Blues. A fruitful and enjoyable day in beautiful surroundings. Thanks to Charlie Burrell for allowing us to visit the various areas i.e. the Adur from Pound Lane to the A24, the Bothy Lake and the Hammer Pond. Our 4 best photos from Knepp will be in the photo gallery.
Julie and Malcolm Redford
A Beautiful Demoiselle was seen flying along the road near the entrance to Sainsburys in Haywards Heath (TQ 329246) on20th August. Luckily there was no traffic coming in this busy part of the town.
Julie and Malcolm Redford
A mature male Club-tailed Dragonfly (Gomphus vulgatissimus) was spotted by Paul Stevens whilst out fishing on 8th August. This is the latest record we have in the database for this species - the latest date we previously had on record for Sussex is 3rd July, and that was in 1991! If you're out and about in the Arun Valley area this weekend, keep an eye out! Paul sent in a splendid picture which you can see in the photo gallery...
Lovely pictures, thank you Julie and Malcolm!
Have posted some photos from Penny's Buchan Country Park and John Luck's Old Lodge and Moorlands trips - both very enjoyable days with many species seen. Purple Thorn moth included for variety - well spotted Penny!
John Luck reports back from the Old Lodge/Moorlands Field Trip on Sunday 28th July, please look in the photo gallery for his shots of the day:
Again, the gods were on our side on our field trip to Old Lodge and Moorlands on Sunday. Eleven of us headed through the heather to explore the various ponds. At the 1st heathland pool, we were treated to 2 pristine male Emerald Damselflies (see group photo). A Four-spotted Chaser buzzily merrily around. Quickly, a Small Red Damselfly was located, then an Emperor flew nearby. A female Emperor was seen egg-laying appearing as blue as a male, which they do in warm weather. Onwards downhill towards the stream at Keeches for lunch to find a remarkable number (10-20) male Keeled Skimmers (see photo of one of them) + a female briefly seen. Then an Emperor decided this was his patch and patrolled the stream with Keeled Skimmers attempting to take him on. One became rather too bold and finished up on the emperor's luncheon menu. The Emperor landed with its prey in the heather but moved away before we were able to take a photo. A couple of Golden-ringed Dragonflies finally appeared perhaps deterred by the nearby presence of the Emperor. Also seen - Brown Hawkers, Azure Ds, Common Blue Ds, Common Darter, Broad-bodied Chaser, Large Red Ds - thus finishing with a site total of 12 species, but no sign of Black Darter, which was out at Black Down a week ago so I had expected to find a few here.
At Moorlands, we were greeted by Lucy & Mark Love, who had once again invited to visit their idyllic garden ponds. 10 species were found with 5 new ones for the day - White-legged Ds, Red-eyed Ds, Blue-tailed Ds, Beautiful Demoiselle and Downy Emerald - thus 17 species were seen on the day, but no sign of Brilliant Emerald. There was strange goings-on at one pond where a male Blue-tailed Damselfly was seen attached to a female Large Red Damselfly which appeared to be egg-laying into a pond lily (photos were taken and may be posted later). To finish the day we returned to the house to be treated to a sumptuous tea. Many thanks to Mr & Mrs Love for their continuing generosity.
Several genuine photographers were in the group so we should be able to post further photographs in the near future.
Fifteen 'big game' hunters joined us for the quest for Emeralds at Buchan Country Park today, and I'm pleased to say that it was a sparkling success...
We got off to a good start as we waited for the sun to appear, when we found 16 Southern Hawker exuviae around two of the small ponds near the visitor centre, a few Large Red damselflies were spotted here too. The next stop was Douster Pond where we spotted our first Emerald - a Brilliant Emerald at that. Here we also bagged Common Blue, Blue-tailed, Large Red and Red-eyed damselfly and just as we were about to move off, we noticed a Marbled White butterfly fluttering towards us, which several of us were watching through our binoculars, and just as it got close....chomp! an Emperor dragonfly ate it for his elevenses. Game over for the Marbled White, but for us it added no.8 on to our list. Moving on around Douster pond we added Azure Damselfly, Brown Hawker, Black-tailed Skimmer and much to our delight, an ovipositing Downy Emerald - which brings us to 12 species so far....
At Boundary Pond we stopped for lunch - what a spot! Amongst the huge array of dragons and damsels copulating and engaged in aerial battles, new for the day were Four-spotted Chaser, Banded Demoiselle and White-legged Damselfly. This brings us to 15 species. But hang on a minute, we haven't seen any Darters yet, surely we can find one on our way back...
We were easily distracted by two freshly emerged Purple Thorn moths, Lemon-scented Buckler Fern and a White Admiral, but just as we were getting close to the end a Common Darter was spotted, bringing us to a very satisfying 16 species.
We were also pleased to see an immature female 'drab form' of the Common Blue damselfly.
Thank you to all those that came along and made this a very enjoyable day out in the field. Hopefully some photos will be posted over the next few days by some of the people that attended. Buchan Country Park is an excellent place to see a wide range of Sussex's Odonata species, let us know if you find more than 16 - it's a challenge!
All the best, Pen
Regarding the comment about scarce chasers in West Sussex, they have been at Burton Mill Pond for at least 4 years.
Julie and Malcolm Redford
Visitors to our garden pond: Broad Bodied Chaser F ovipositing. Common Darter F. Still getting several Azures and Large Reds.
Julie and Malcolm Redford
On the 11th of July (25C+ and little breeze) we visited our survey lakes to the south of Cuckfield for the 2nd time. It was even more like a lost world than our last visit - a paradise for dragonflies. The banks are tree lined and overgrown with nettles, reeds and bracken. Again we found huge numbers of Azures but fewer Large Reds and Blue-Tailed, around a dozen Downy Emeralds and several Brown Hawkers and Emperors. On the 2nd and 3rd lakes there were many Red-eyed Damselflies on the lily pads.
We shall visit again in August to note any changes.
Tuesday the 9th, good mix of species seen while pond surveying near the Surrey border; Downy Emeralds, Black-tailed Skimmer, Broad-bodied Chasers, Emperor, Southern Hawkers, Azures, Common Blues, Large Reds, Red-eyed and a Banded Demoiselle.
On the 3rd July, I observed a fresh looking male Southern Hawker hunting along a heathland ride at Lavington. Yesterday (9th July) I saw a rather lost looking male Beautiful Demoiselle flying along the seafront in central Brighton - one can only guess to how it got there! Chichester seems to be overrun by Common Blue Damselfly; I suspect a mass emergence from the nearby Gravel Pits.
29th June. 2 Brilliant Emerald near the police training area on Ashdown Forest.
Then at the Old Lodge 2 Golden-ringed Dragonfly, another Emerald of some sort and a Keeled Skimmer amongst the Emperors, Broad Bodied and Four-spotted chasers.
I had a very enjoyable afternoon at the Old Lodge yesterday (June 26th). Many Large Red, Common Blue and Azure damsels were seen.
Also 8 Four-spotted chasers (including one ovipositing), 4 Broad-bodied chasers (2m,1f &1teneral), 8 Emperors (5m,3f, including one ovipositing, one mating pair and one which chewed the abdomen from an unfortunate Brown Silver-line moth and dropped the wings and head still flapping into the pool below in a mater of seconds!).
Also seen: 1 teneral Keeled skimmer, 1 male Beautiful demoiselle (which passed through quickly and proved to be surprisingly agile when intercepted by an Emperor).
The stars of the show were 2 Emeralds, one was seen briefly over the stream tangling with a Four spot' (going by jizz almost certainly 'Downy') the other was hawking high up and obligingly landed 25 or so feet up in a Scots pine! (small chance it could have been 'Brilliant'). I took a record shot or two of the later, but the results were really terrible and unfortunately no use at all for identity purposes.
We went to the recording weekend at Knepp Castle Estate at the beginning of June. The conditions were good for dragonflies to be out and about. We saw many Large Reds, Blue-taileds and Azures throughout the estate with a lot of ovipositing taking place. We also recorded a Red-eyed, 2 Emperors, an immature male Scarce Chaser, 12 Beautiful Demoiselles and 4 female Broad-bodied Chasers.
On the 5th of June (a hot day) we visited our survey lakes near Cuckfield. We found huge numbers of Large Reds and Azures and many Downy Emeralds.
Julie and Malcolm Redford
6th June. Scarce Chaser male on Knepp Castle Estate this morning.
Old Lodge. 14 Emperor exuvia, 2 newly emerged Emperors drying out, several Broad-bodied Chasers, male and female, and several Four-spotted Chasers. Also, several Large-red Damselflies.
Lots of Red-eyed Damselflies and one female Beautiful Demoiselle.
Two Scarce Chasers in Edburton today, including one in my garden - a new species for Edburton. Also Beautiful Demoiselle, Broad-bodied Chaser, Hairy Dragonfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly.
Club-tail seen munching flies in the northern part of Rewell Wood this morning. Will add a couple of images to the gallery.
First Emperor dragonfly of the year for me at Old Lodge. A female only just emerged which was still hanging out to dry this moring and provided a great photo opportunity.
I saw my first Four-spotted chaser today at Balsdean (See photo page), also 2 common blue, and and 1 azure damselfly. On 1st June a walk along the south bank of the Ouse between Southease and Rodmell produced several Variable damselflies and one Large Red. Also two dragonflies which were too quick for me in the wind!
The Club-tails are out! Thanks to reporters who have sent emails in, sounds like many teneral individuals were seen hardening off on the bank-side vegetation over the weekend, and a couple of males in the woods. One unfortunately made it on to a Pied Wagtail's menu. See Pete Hughes' great photo in the photo gallery. Committee members were planning a kayak trip this morning to look for exuviae but the weather soon put a stop to that!
Hairy dragonfly and male & female broad bodied chasers at Woods Mill today
Update: According to the British Dragonfly Society Recent Sightings page, the Scarce Chaser at Burton Pond appears to be the first record of the year for this species in the UK.
Yesterday afternoon (22nd May 2013) I was delighted to see two freshly emerged Scarce Chasers and a Downy Emerald drying their wings on bankside vegetation at Burton Pond. I managed to collect exuviae from both species making these useful breeding records. Has anyone else recorded Scarce Chasers this far west in Sussex? With their gradual spread across Sussex they are not living up to their namesake! I also saw Variable and Blue-tailed Damselfly.
This afternoon (17th May 2013) I spotted my first Blue-tailed Damselfly of the year, near a pond at Clapham, Worthing. I've posted a photograph on out photos page.
We were really pleased to see a female Broad-bodied Chaser amongst the heather on Ambersham Common yesterday (12th May 2013). I have just uploaded my photo of it in the photo gallery. It was spotted by Ruth and Rich Black when were out for a walk with them.
A Hairy Dragonfly in Knowlands Wood, Barcombe, yesterday (7th May)
About late Darters, I have a photo of a pair in tandem taken at Knowlands Farm on 8th November.
Thursday 2nd May. My first adult sighting of the year, teneral Large Red Damselfly fluttered over the hedge from my neighbour's pond in Plumpton.
On the Friday 3rd May, Pauline Chandler reports a Hairy Dragonfly on the wing at Burton Mill Pond, as well as lots of Large Red Damselflies.
More Large Red Damselflies.
28th April. 11 Large Reds emerged from our pond near Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield TQ304245. The first this year. Julie and Malcolm Redford.
And they're off!
A 'wet-looking' teneral Large Red Damselfly flew from the pond at Lords Piece onto a nearby tree this afternoon, 23rd April. I managed to take a picture before it flew off - see the sightings page.
I spotted a male Common Darter on the seventh of November in Plumpton and 5 coupled pairs of Common Darters at Sheffield Park on the 11th. Anyone else have any late sightings?
I spotted 2 Migrant Hawkers hawking for insects around the edge of Weir Wood Reservoir yesterday, despite the cooler conditions. Their usual vivid blue colour appeared more drab.
Yesterday (20th September) I found a very fresh looking female Red-veined Darter in the northern part of Rewell Wood, close to Duchess Lodge. Thanks to John Luck for correcting my initial Darter errata. I've previously only seen this species in The Canaries. Two images uploaded to gallery.
We had a fabulous end to the Sussex Dragonfly Group's field events at Cuckmere Haven on Sunday. With glorious weather, we saw lots of Migrant Hawkers, Common Darters, Southern Hawkers and a few Blue-tailed Damselflies. A good number of Migrant Hawkers were flying around in pairs - see the picture on the photos page.
Tom Forward from the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership has posted this great video of a Golden-ringed Dragonfly munching its prey. Please visit the Gatwick Greenspace Facebook Page to view the video:
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=338 ... 38185
Super weather Saturday 8/9/12, so off to Burton Mill Pond. Photographed and confirmed 9 species notably Migrant Hawker in a tree and first time spot of Black Darter at nearby Lord's Piece- John
As the weather is looking good for this weekend, we thought we lay on a bonus dragonfly field trip this Sunday (9th September). Please look on the event's tab for more details.
All the best, Penny
4 Brilliant Emerald dragonflies were still looking radiant in the late afternoon sunshine at Buchan Country Park on the 28th August.
in the last couple of weeks a couple of exciting species of dragonfly have been recorded in the county. The first was a Common Hawker (which despite it's name is quite unusual in Sussex!) a week ago at Iping SWT Reserve. It's a moorland species which was last recorded in Sussex in 1995 in the same spot. The recorder, Dave Sadler, got a nice photo of it - I will be adding it to photos page shortly.
The other unusual species recorded is Lesser Emperor, a male and female seen in tandem and ovipositing at West Langney Level in Eastbourne. Recorded by Ian Whitcomb whose brother found one in almost the same spot 12 years ago, almost to the day! Again, a photo will be available on the photos page.
There will be more about these two finds in the autumn newsletter, so watch this space!
All the best, Penny
Yes Ben , i had 6 migrant hawkers on a small pond on the estate last week, its the only place on my patch where i have seen them before, but this week in the odd sunny spells i have found them on two of the fishing lakes and a couple hunting on the forest rides. One of the 6 on the pond was very fresh, just hatched by the look of him. We also seem to have good numbers of brown hawkers at the moment. cheers Bob