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   


Website updated as new dragonfly season starts

As reports arrive of Hertfordshire's first dragonfly sightings for 2023, county recorder Roy Woodward has updated the HNHS website with tetrad maps for every species located during the 2022 season.

These, memorably, include the first records of Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies in Herts for three-quarters of a century. They were the highlight of the first year of a six-year county-wide survey of dragonflies set to continue until 2027.

Tackling crimes against wildlife

Hertfordshire and Middlesex Badger Group are inviting members of wildlife-friendly groups across the county to a talk on Tuesday 4 April by  PC Tim Armstrong of Hertfordshire Police's Rural Operation Support Team  (ROST) which is in the front line tackling wildlife crime.

'Heartwood - 14 Years old': catch up with the annual Salisbury Lecture online

A excellent lecture by Prof Brian Legg and Tim Wright of the Heartwood Monitoring Group on the evolution of Hertfordshire's 'new' forest attracted a capacity audience of 90 at Welwyn Civic Centre. For those who missed the Gerald Salisbury Memorial Lecture, a video of the presentations can now be viewed on YouTube.

Tim and Brian not only talked about the remarkable volunteer effort organised by the Woodland Trust that has seen 600,000 native trees and shrubs planted on former arable land near Sandridge, but also a fine selection of the flora and fauna that have been identified there.