Moor Green Lakes Group

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Dragonflies and Damseflies (Odonata)

Dragonflies to see Dragonfly recording Dragonfly List

What to Expect

Both Dragonflies and Damselflies live out most of their lives beneath the water as larva. They leave the water as sexual maturity approaches, climbing local emergent vegetation where they shed their outer skin for the last time, to emerge as the winged insect that we are all familiar with.

April to May

First to make an appearance on the wing at Moor Green Lakes is usually the Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula towards the end of April. It is easily missed, as numbers are low but should be looked for at the north western end of Colebrook Lake North and near the Grove Lake Hide. This species flight period at Moor Green Lakes is usually over by the first week in June. Mid May should provide the keen observer with views of Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella, Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans and Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum. Azures have usually vanished by the end of June, Blue-tails can still be found as late as mid August and Common Blue Damselflies hang on into October.

Along the river Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens has been known to show on the wing as early as the last week in April. Population levels peak in June and July and they finally disappear towards the middle of September. The Red-eyed Damselfly Erythomma najas emerges on site around the end of May but is unlikely to be seen from the footpath, as its habitually found over the water. If you want see it, join a summer work party.

The Downy Emerald Dragonfly Cordulia aenea shows in small numbers towards the middle of May for about a month, along with the Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata. This species is on the wing for about six weeks and is most likely to be seen, Hobby permitting, between the Lower Sandhurst Road car park and the Colebrook Lake hide.

June to July

The site has been popular over the years with Black-tailed Skimmers Orthetrum cancellatum. They are present from the first week in June until the end of August. Watch for them on the warm stony footpaths where they love to bask taking on body heat. The Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator appears in very small numbers, some years as low as one male. When present it can be seen from the end of May to the middle of August.

The Golden-ringed Dragonfly Cordulegaster boltonii has been recorded on site almost every year since 1997. It is not known to breed at Moor Green Lakes, though some effort has been expended trying to make the cut between Grove and Colebrook Lakes into a suitable habitat for this species.

The Brown Hawker Dragonfly Aeshna grandis most easily identified by its brown wings, can usually be found between the first week in July and the start of September hawking over the river. Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum is on the wing from the last week in June until as late as mid November.

August and September

The Migrant Hawker Dragonfly Aeshna mixta is first seen in early August and remains on the wing until the last week in October. Late season work parties often afford good views of this species mating and egg laying. Southern Hawker Dragonfly Aeshna cycnea is usually to be found somewhere on site throughout August and early September. Good numbers of this species have been reported around the lower Sandhurst Road Car Park and along the road itself in the early evening.

Other species occasionally recorded at Moor Green Lakes are Small Red Damselfly Ceriagrion tenellum, Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa, Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa, Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens, Black Darter Sympetrum danae and Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum.

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