Monday, 15 July 2013

Beautiful Demoiselles, Emerald Damselflies and Ruddy Darters

Over the last week or so, both Ruddy Darters and Emerald Damselflies have started to emerge. On 6 July, Bob Bullock saw the first Emerald Damselflies and on 9 July, Doug Goddard found Ruddy Darters emerging at the Whitestones Ponds, Twywell Hills & Dales.

Tony Vials saw a few Hairy Dragonflies at Summer Leys on 13 July, which is the latest date so far in Northants. Presumably, the late start to emergence in Spring has lead to a late end to the season too.

Beautiful Demoiselles are appearing at various locations along the Nene and Brampton Valley Way, with sightings at Kislingbury, Weedon, Brixworth and Hanging Houghton.

At Whitestones Ponds today, I was amazed to see 9 male Broad-bodied Chasers clashing madly over the three small ponds. One pond had 4 males at one point and the competition for the best territorial perch was so intense that they did not settle at all for over 10 mins. The other ponds saw Brown Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, Azure Damselflies and many Ruddy Darters including two pairs ovipositing.

Beautiful Demoiselle

Ruddy Darter

Ruddy Darter
Ruddy Darter

Broad-bodied Chaser

Emerald Damselfly

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Dragonflies of Northamptonshire - second edition coming in July

I have just completed the manuscript for the second edition of "The Dragonflies of Northamptonhsire" This edition will be available towards the end of July.

Fully illustrated throughout with high quailty colour photographs, this 76 page A4 format book contains information on all of the species of dragonflies and damselflies recorded in Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough since 2000. The best sites in the County are described along with species descriptions, county status, distribution maps and flight periods for all of our 23 breeding species and 3 migrants. The print run is limited to 250 copies. Retail price is £14.95 (inc p&p), but for a special pre-publication price please contact me directly at mark.p.tyrrell(at) (Extra special offer for owners of the first edition).

Monday, 1 July 2013

Sightings update to 1 July

Over the last week or two a number of interesting sightings have emerged:

Darryl Sutcliffe has recorded good numbers of Beautiful Demoiselle on the upper reaches of the Brampton Valley Way. Back in 2009, I predicted that they would start to colonise the river here as it has an aspect very similar to their traditional territory on the River Tove near Towcester.

David Warner has recorded Beautiful Demoiselles on the streams at Harlestone Heath for the second year - a good sign that they are establishing colonies there too. There is a direct connection to the Brampton Valley Way! David also recorded a single male at Salcey Forest.

Mark Piper and Nick Roberts recorded Hairy Dragonflies at Collyweston Bridge on the River Welland. This is the first record here.

From my side there have been good numbers of Scarce Chasers at Wadenhoe, Warmington and Fotheringhay (the site of my first County records in 2005). The photos below show a male at territory and after he caught a female - it is the same male in both photos.


At Old Sulehay quarry, I saw my first Black-tailed Skimmer of the year. This species is becoming scarce along the Nene Valley and other sites now offer better habitats. Also present were 3 Broad-bodied Chaser, many Common Blue Damselflies, a single Emperor and my first Brown Hawker (also seen by the Terry & Judy Woods at Castle Ashby).

Travelling outside of our County, I visited Paxton Pits in Cambridgeshire after the exciting news of the discovery that the Norfolk Hawker has established a breeding colony there after sightings over the last few years. This site is so close to us that they may yet find their way here, however I know of no sites in Northants that has water soldier - the plant that is linked to this species. If anyone knows of a site please keep a watch out. Here's my best in flight shot from my visit.