Berkshire Dragonfly News

Azure Damselfly © Brian Walker

Notes & Highlights from May

This month, we were very pleased to hear from Des Sussex, Berkshire (VC22) Dragonfly Recorder with an update of recent records and sightings.

article written by Des Sussex (VC22) Dragonfly Recorder 

By the end of April we had at least 8 species reported in Berkshire VC22 on the wing, and with May being so hot and sunny all month I have received a lot of records from around the county. With lockdown restrictions easing mid-month many of you were able to legitimately venture out for visits to your favourite dragonfly sites.

Continuing from end of April we had a number of records of Club-tailed dragonfly from the Thames, and interestingly there were also 2 Club-tailed seen (& photographed) on the Berks/Oxon downs at Churn Hill and near Moulsford – a fair flight from the Thames.

A few recorders have surveyed for Variable Damselfly at some of the sites near Cookham - with good success at Widbrook Common and nearby. A couple of high counts (inc. 100+) give re-assurance that the species is still present in a viable population. Thanks to those who search for and record Variables – it is not an easy task sorting them from the Common Blue and Azure Damsels which are often also present in numbers. The species is also being reported from Burghfield.

There have been a good number of records of Hairy Dragonfly and Downy Emerald from numerous locations such as Simon’s Wood, Swinley Forest, Charvil Country Park, Thames Valley Park and Cholsey Marsh. There were some quite high counts of Downies.

One of the best sightings of the month was on 26th May when a male Scarce Chaser was found and photographed at Shepherd Meadows on the River Blackwater (this is just the second Berks record - one was seen at the same location in 2012), so if you are visiting the Blackwater valley do keep an eye out for this one.

May also produced a few reports of early Brilliant Emerald from Simon’s Wood, Rapley Lakes in Swinley Forest, and I watched a male for 30 minutes on the R. Blackwater at Shepherd Meadows .

There was an intriguing record of a single Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly from a site near Mortimer, which I need to investigate. If confirmed this would be a very exciting find and probably the first for many years. It would definitely merit further investigation to see if there is a viable colony nearby which needs conservation action.

By late May Keeled Skimmers were on the wing in Crowthorne Woods and Swinley Forest, and there were also 2 reports of Golden-ringed (Swinley), as well as a Brown Hawker at Greenham on 20th May.

Late May, brought the surprise of a ‘double’ sighting in suburban Reading of very early Common Darter, and an unidentified hawker –presumably a possible Southern.

Posted: June 26, 2020