welcome note

On this blog you will be able to share sightings of Dragonflies and Damselflies within the recording area of VC41. However, sightings further afield will be welcome on this site also. To become an author of this blog please register by sending an email to vc41dragonfly@gmail.com and an invite will be sent to you. Alternatively if you want to record your sightings on this blog but do not wish to register then please email sightings with or without photos to the above address and they can be published for you. Please continue to record your sightings through the correct channels and details of these can be found above.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Southern Hawker at Llangynwyd today.

Friday 11 November 2011

Blue tailed damselfly at Kenfig pool yesterday. Also a few Common darters and a brown looking Hawker from the south pool hide that i put down as a worn Migrant hawker. It did not come closer than about 10 metres so details were few but after seeing Mark Hipkins' post, i wonder...

Vagrant Emperor now included in VC41 Dragonfly list

Vagrant Emperor, Cosmeston, 5th May 2011 by David Batchelor

Mike Powell, Dragonfly Recorder for VC41 has provided news of the recently included Vagrant Emperor to the VC41 List.

Mike writes "The latest issue of the Journal of the British Dragonfly Society, October 2011, Vol 27 No2, pp80-86 has confirmed two records of Vagrant Emperor Anax ephippiger for Glamorgan as follows:

1) 28th April, Llanilid, near Pencoed, one male, Paul Roberts

2) 05th May, Cosmeston Lakes, one male, David Batchelor

In addition there is a 'probable' record on 08th May from Cardiff (A. Crowder) These records constitute the first for Glamorgan.

A total of 20 confirmed UK records are published from 09th January with 18 of the records between 10th April & 08th May."

Thursday 10 November 2011

Vagrant Emperor at Baglan Bay

Vagrant Emperor (c) M. Hipkin
I came across a dragonfly flying in the dunes next to the old BP refinery works at Baglan Bay (SS72659149) today at 12:04. With the recent winds I thought there will always be a possibility of something unusual so I tried to get a closer look. My early feeling is that it might be a female Vagrant Emperor and would appreciate your thoughts. I spent most of my time trying to capture it on camera but it did come quite close and I made the following observations.
 1) Size seemed close to Migrant Hawker and the flight was quite weak compared to our Emperor dragonfly.
 2) The light was quite harsh but it did appear to have a general brownish colour to it. Not much contrast noticeable and no patterning seen with the naked eye.
 3) The wings also looked quite dark on occasions.
The above is part of the email I sent to Adrian Parr, Migrant Dragonfly Officer for British Dragonfly Society who contacted this blog earlier this year regarding Paul Roberts' find of a Vagrant Emperor at Llanilid 28th April 2011. I've included some of Adrian's response which has made my year!
Vagrant Emperor (c) M. Hipkin
Adrian Parr replied "Yes, this is definitely a Vagrant Emperor. The plain-coloured thorax makes it an Anax species, and the brown eyes & pale spots at the end of the abdomen mean it's Anax ephippiger - the Vagrant Emperor.

 It's interesting that you noted no blue patch on the abdomen, the photo shows this to more likely be a male (no obvious ovipositor, complicated pattern of anal appendages more suggestive of the three seen in males rather than the two in females, plus a hint of secondary genitalia also present). Presumably it's an immature. 

This makes some 7-8 individuals seen in the last six weeks, following on from the unprecedented early 2011 influx. I wonder if there are yet more to come!!"

Friday 28 October 2011


Male Southern hawker still on the wing today.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Friday 7 October 2011

Black Darter near Crynant

male Black Darter (c) C. Hipkin
Charles and Hilary Hipkin found a few male Black Darters in flight around some waste ground  near Crynant that were making the most of the recent sunshine on 1st October 2011. The land is south of the Cefn Coed colliery museum next to the A4109 between the road and the railway line (SN784030).

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Southern Hawker in the Garden

Southern Hawker (c)M. Hipkin
One of two Southern Hawkers (both males) in the garden in Neath today. This one sitting long enough for me to get the bathroom mirror to reflect the sunlight onto its back to show the detail on the abdomen!

Wednesday 31 August 2011

Beautiful Demoiselle at the Swansea Canal

male Beautiful Demoiselle (c) J. Driscoll
Jeff sent a few photos taken towards the end of the summer of the appropriately named Beautiful Demoiselle. I'd supplied Jeff with a few locations to try for this species but suspect the fact that he found his own site for them was even more rewarding. As I'm sure you'll agree the photos are breathtaking! Jeff added "I took these back in August this year on the Swansea Canal just below Ynysmeudwy lower lock (SN73820554). I'd been searching for over 6 weeks and finally found a colony of about 20 - 30 there."
female Beautiful Demoiselle (c) J. Driscoll

Monday 22 August 2011

Black Darter at Sarn Helen (Roman Road)

Black Darter (female)
 Seen from the Roman Road walk above Dyffryn Cellwen. Also seen today in the same area a male Common Hawker

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Common Hawker near Resolven

Common Hawker (male)
1 of 2 Common Hawkers seen along the forestry tracks SE of Resolven. Also a Golden-ringed Dragonfly flying in this area.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Common Darters at Fendrod Lake

Mating Common Darter at Fendrod Lake (c) J. Driscoll
More action from Fendrod Lake (SS675967). Another terrific photo courtesy of Jeff Driscoll taken this morning showing some very nice detail.

Saturday 23 July 2011


Female Common hawker.
Female Goldring.
Goldring ovipositing.

Friday 22 July 2011

40 UK's Dragon and Damselfly Reserves

Mike Powell has recommended this link for anyone who is interested in visiting some of the best Dragonfly and Damselfly reserves the UK has to offer. The link opens up a pdf which is loaded with lots of great information which can be printed off for future reference as required. Follow the link below or to the right to open this pdf, the front page of which is shown above.

40 UK's Best Dragon and Damselfly Reserves

Recent sightings

(c) Jeff Driscoll

A couple more photos from Jeff Driscoll. Above Golden-ringed Dragonfly at Nantyffyllon on the 19th July 2011 . A nice capture of a female ovipositing.

(c) Jeff Driscoll

Above a Black-tailed Skimmer at Fendrod Lake 14th July 2011. Again a nice capture of a male feasting on a hoverfly!

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Thursday 7 July 2011

Red-eyed Damselfly in Swansea

(c) Jeff Driscoll
 Jeff Driscoll sent us a selection of Damselfly photos recently and among them was this one. After a bit of back tracking and jogging the memory it was established that this photo had been taken in early June 2011 at Pluck Lake. It is a male Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) and not surprisingly sitting on a Water Lily. This species does seem to be expanding its distribution westwards through Wales currently and is well worth looking out for. This may be the furthest West this species has been recorded in VC41 so far and is a very good record by Jeff.

If you have seen this species then please let us know.

I visited Pluck Lake today and found at least 1 male present. Not difficult to track down as the only patch of Water Lilies on the lake is very obvious, although not very close to the waters edge. Pluck Lake can be found at SS669957.
Water Lilies at Pluck Lake
Also on show here today during a brief visit were Blue-tailed Damselfly, Broad-bodied Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer

Swansea Vale Roadside Ponds

(c) Jeff Driscoll
 Jeff sent us another selection of fine images this time from the Swansea Vale roadside ponds. I've never been to this site but it looks very nice from Google Maps! Found at SS679986. A nice shot of a male Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) above and a female Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) below. Very nice!
(c) Jeff Driscoll

Monday 4 July 2011

Southern Hawker at Tennant Canal

(c) Jeff Driscoll
 Jeff Driscoll has sent us these very nice images of a Southern Hawker (Aeshna cycnea) taken on 29th June 2011 at the Tennant Canal. Cracking shots Jeff and a good record also.
(c) Jeff Driscoll

Variable Damselfly at Tennant Canal

Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum)

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly near Banwen

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilio)
It was nice to find the Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies that I came across last year were present in the same location this year. The pond that they favour is about 10m x 4m with a small amounts of marginal vegetation. The water is quite shallow and continually murky due to various off road vehicles that drive through it. In this case presenting very appealing conditions for this particular species. The pond can be found next to the Vale of Neath Walk about 1km from Banwen at SN85110897

Sunday 26 June 2011

Nantyffyllon today.

Teneral male Keeled skimmer.
Also two Goldring dragonflies on the wing.

Monday 20 June 2011

Aberdulais Basin

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo)
Finally managed to catch up with a Beautiful Demoiselle today, and now that I have I'm pretty sure I haven't overlooked them before! Not flying anyway. Although I didn't know it at the time the location is a good one to see them in NPT with Charles Hipkin noting them here on a few occasions and recorded by Barry Stewart also 9/8/07. Grid ref for today's sighting SS77449927

Nantyffyllon today.

Scarce blue tailed damselflies (Ischnura pumilio).

Nantyffyllon yesterday.

Beautiful demoiselle. Second record for the Llynfi valley.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Kenfig pool.

Blue tailed damselfly
Female Keeled skimmer
Female Black tailed skimmer.
Also plenty of Broad bodied chasers.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Poland 2011

Just back from Poland [Bialowieza & Brebrza marshes]. The numbers of dragonflies out there were amazing. I estimate that at one site there were over a 1000 Downy Emeralds. Unfortunately I didn't take my net, so I couldn't catch and ID the damselflies.
Banded Demosielle
Beautiful Demosielle
Common Blue Damselfy
Azure Damselfly
Common Emerald Damselfly
Red-eyed Damselfly
Brilliant Emerald
Downy Emerald
Yellow-spotted Emerald
Black-tailed Skimmer
Keeled Skimmer
Blue Chaser
Broad-bodied Chaser
Four-spotted Chaser
Yellow-spotted Whiteface
Ruby Whiteface
Green-eyed Hawker
Ruddy Darter

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Vagrant Emperor sightings request

We received a request from Adrian Parr today. Adrian is a member of the British Dragonfly Society and Migrant Dragonfly Officer. He is working on an article documenting the recent extraordinary numbers of this species in the British Isles, to be published this summer. It would be great if you have been fortunate enough to have seen this dragonfly and are able to contribute to building a picture, to be presented in this article. If you have seen this species or know someone who has and have not yet reported it to a county recorder, then please provide contact details to Adrian Parr at adrian.parr@btinternet.com , Mike Powell at mike.powell2@coorsbrewers.com or contact the email shown above and details will be forwarded on.

Adrian provided a nice bit of information which shows what a remarkable dragonfly the Vagrant Emperor is and also how remarkable the recent "invasion" has been.

These last few months have seen record numbers of Vagrant Emperor dragonflies reported from the UK. This species normally breeds in sub-Sarahan Africa, but is a very powerful migrant, having reached both Iceland and the New World (the Caribbean) in the past. Prior to this year, there had been only some 30 records from Britain in the past 100 years.

Thanks for your help.

Monday 9 May 2011

Downy emerald at Hensol

Here's a record flight shot of a Downy Emerald at Hensol yesterday

Even though it's quite early in the year, there were double figures of Downy Emerald and smaller numbers of Red-eyed Damselflies.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Vagrant Emperor at Llanilid

Great news from Llanilid, where Paul Roberts has reported seeing a male Vagrant Emperor and says "It was hunting over fairly bare ground east of the pool at SS98368199." This species has been reported in recent weeks along the South coast of England and also a couple of reports from Pembroke in recent days. Well worth looking out for.

Damselflies at Crymlyn Bog

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) 
 The recent run of exceptional weather has certainly got the damselfly activity into full swing at Crymlyn Bog. Large Red, Azure, Variable and Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) all noted today. 4 Large Red Damselflies were noted today. 1 pair of Common Blue Damselfly was the least abundant species today.
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion pulla)
 6+ Azure Damselflies were noted including a mating pair.
Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum)
 The distribution of this species seems to be restricted, certainly in recent years, to this area and along the Tennant Canal within VC41. I would estimate that there were far more Variables than Azure present today and put the quantity in the region of 20 or more.

The female Variable Damselfly (above) was found quite some distance away from the main group and on closer inspection I found that it was eating a small Crane Fly or something similar.

One ovipositing tandem Variable Damselfly pair (above) was observed in the small pool accessed via the boardwalk. However, the bulk numbers of this species were observed in the pool nearest the carpark.

Chasers at Crymlyn Bog

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
 An afternoon visit to Crymlyn Bog this afternoon was rewarding, with Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser and also Hairy Dragonflies (Brachytron pratense) present showing in the small pools and wet fields around the carpark. At least 5 Broad-bodied Chasers were favouring the bushes around the wet fields.
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula depressa)
At least 2 Four-spotted Chaser were found along the flooded ditch with 1 Hairy Dragonfly also patrolling along here. Not far from the carpark in one of the ponds accessed by via the boardwalk 6+ Hairy Dragonflies were present. A copulating pair and also a lone female ovipositing making up the numbers here.

Sunday 24 April 2011

Four-spotted Chaser at Margam Moors

Four-spotted Chaser
On a glorious day 2 Four-spotted Chaser were seen around Margam Moors today. This one was basking in the sun high up in a tree near the South-east corner of the moors. Another was seen in flight flying over the reedbed of the kenfig rivermarsh.
Meanwhile, nearby at Kenfig Pool, David Carrington reported good numbers of Hairy Dragonflies in flight there.