Tuesday, 17 August 2010

DRAGONFLY: Lancashire and south Cumbria dragonflies during a brief improvement in the weather

August 15/16, 2010:
Recently in north-west England, the weather has been very poor and there's been an apparent absence of dragonflies. Some warmth and sunshine on Sunday and Monday offered promise, however. At Brockholes Wetlands (Lancashire) on Sunday, many Brown Hawkers (Aeshna grandis) were flying. Unfortunately these never seem to settle enabling a photo to be taken although one female was seen ovipositing onto pondweed (Potamogeton sp) at one of the small pools.

[Brown Hawker ovipositing, Brockholes]

There was also a large number of Common Darters (Sympetrum striolatum) and, in contrast to the Brown Hawkers, these would usually perch accommodatingly. Many Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum), several Migrant Hawkers (Aeshna mixta), a Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) and an Emperor (Anax imperator) were also seen.

[Male Common Darters, Brockholes]

On an oak tree at the woodland’s edge there were Purple Hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus) butterflies; these are often elusive and hard to see. Many of the commoner species visited flowers, especially thistles.

[Purple Hairstreak, Brockholes]

At Foulshaw Moss (south Cumbria) on the following day, the main interest was the Black Darters (Sympetrum danae) present in abundance which is often a feature of the site in late summer. Like their Common relative they were also approachable but not so was a solitary Southern Hawker which, although showing curiosity, never settled. Many Common Blue and Emerald Damselflies (Lestes sponsa) active amongst the fringing water plants.

[Pool at Foulshaw]

[Male Black Darters, Foulshaw]

[Emerald Damselflies, Foulshaw]

[Emerald Damselfly, Foulshaw]

Not too far away is the small secluded tarn at Barkbooth. Here an Emperor patrolled the water and there were also two very inquisitive Southern Hawkers and many of the same two species of damselfly as at Foulshaw.

[The small tarn, Barkbooth]

[An inquisitive Southern Hawker, Barkbooth]


  1. Michael, that Emerald Damselfly is not a teneral. Male Emeralds start green, and only acquire the blue pruinosity with age.