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 Pryce Buckle

With sadness, we have learned that Pryce Buckle – a former HNHS Treasurer and Secretary as well as county recorder for molluscs – died on 9 November after a prolonged illness.

Pryce was HNHS Treasurer from 1983 to 1988 and then Secretary until 1990. He became molluscs recorder in 1987 and continued in the role until 2010.

Have we got Poos for You!

Do not miss this year's Gerald Salisbury Memorial Lecture to be given by Graham White, RSPB Head of Reserves Ecology

Graham, last year's winner of the Society's 1875 Award for an outstanding contribution to Hertfordshire natural history, is an enthusiastic ‘coprologist’. He will be speaking about the role of scat, spraint and dung identification in wildlife conservation.

The lecture takes place at 8pm on Wednesday 27 November in the Civic Centre, Prospect Place, Welwyn, AL6 9EN.

Capacity audience for Autumn Meeting and AGM

A capacity audience attended the Autumn Meeting on Saturday 9 November to enjoy presentations on the spiders and dragonflies of Hertfordshire and take part in the Society's Annual General Meeting. The Society's prestigious 1875 Awards for the year were also presented.

Hertford-based enthusiast Christopher Benton urged the conference to show more love and "less of the Halloween" for spiders as his prelude to introducing a personal selection of species he has recorded across the county.

These range from the familiar Giant House Spider Tegenaria gigantea and the Garden Spider Araneus diadematus to more elusive species that he has become skilled at coaxing out of walls and crevices, using an electric toothbrush. The latter include the widespread Amaraubius similis and Amaraubius ferox, which also has a liking for drain covers.