Mid-summer update

As we approach the end of June most of the dragonfly and damselfly species that are known to be breeding in Hertfordshire have now been reported during 2018, although we may have to wait a bit longer for the first records of late summer/autumn species such as Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) and Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis).

Sighting of some of the earliest flying species, in particular Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) but also chasers like the Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) shown below, will now start to tail off, but many of the more obvious species such as Brown & Southern Hawkers (Aeshna grandis & A. cyanea) and Ruddy & Common Darters (Sympetrum sanguineum S. striolatum) will become more numerous during July and August.

Exciting news this year is that the Green-eyed Hawkers (Anaciaeshna isoceles - also known as Norfolk Hawkers - but that name doesn't seem appropriate any more) that arrived at Amwell four years ago seem to be expanding their Hertfordshire distribution and have so far been reported from three additional Hertfordshire sites, all close to Amwell.

Beautiful Demoiselles, which established a population just outside Hertfordshire a few years ago, on the Turkey Brook at Forty Hall, Middlesex, also seem to be spreading into Hertfordshire, with two reports of what were presumably wandering individuals in the east of the county and reports from Cuffley Brook in the south-east (not too far from Forty Hall). If anyone wants to see this species locally it is best looked for at Forty Hall with the bridge over Turkey Brook at TQ342987 being a good spot. To see them in Hertfordshire the points where public footpaths cross Cuffley Brook at TL315009 and TL310015 seem to provide the best opportunity, but they are at very low density along the brook. More on the Beautiful Demoiselles and Green-eyed Hawkers will follow in the next few days.

Please submit records of any dragonflies and damselflies that you see, including common species, using the record submission form on the HNHS website (http://www.hnhs.org/submit/dragonflies-and-damselflies), via iRecord, or by email to the following email address: dragonflies@hnhs.org  

 

New 'Hertfordshire Dragonflies and Damselflies Facebook group

I have set up a Facebook group that anyone with an interest in the dragonflies and damselflies of Hertfordshire, who uses Facebook, may like to join to share sightings and photos.

A link to the group can be found here: Herts dragonflies Facebook group   

 

Death of Bryan Sage, co-founder of the Herts Bird Club

With great sadness, we have learned of the death of the distinguished naturalist Bryan Sage. He was a past President of the Hertfordshire Natural History Society and, with the Revd. Tom Gladwin, co-founder in 1971 of the Herts Bird Club.

Bryan was an all round naturalist and, at various times between the late 1950s and early 1980s, the county recorder for birds, dragonflies and beetles. In 1964 he also became the first General Secretary of the Herts and Middlesex Trust for Nature Conservation, now the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.

Autumn Meeting and AGM – bring slugs!

Tree Slug (Lehmannia marginata)

Don't miss our Autumn Meeting  on Saturday 3 November, together with the Society's Annual General Meeting. It is taking place from 2pm to 5.30pm at the offices of Affinity Water in Tamblin Way, Hatfield, AL10 9AZ.

The keynote speakers are Matt Dodds, Planning and Biodiversity Manager at the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, and limacologist Chris de Feu, whose efforts to gain a fair hearing for slugs have included an appearance on the BBC's 2018 Springwatch programme.

Matt will be talking about his role in scrutinising development proposals in our county with a view to protecting, improving and creating wildlife habitats. Chris, in addition to sharing his enthusiasm for slugs will be holding an identification workshop. You are actively invited bring your own slug finds to the meeting (click 'read more' for Chris's collecting and transportation advice)!