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   

 

Trevor James BEM 1947-2020

With great sadness we report that Trevor James, Hertfordshire's long-time recorder for flora and beetles and an outstanding all-round naturalist, died peacefully in the Garden House Hospice, Letchworth  on Friday  5 June.

Trevor made a remarkable contribution to the study, understanding and recording of wildlife in the county where he lived for most of his life. He actively promoted 'citizen science' through his own volunteering and the generous practical help and encouragement he offered so that less experienced enthusiasts could develop their skills.

2020 Festival of Wildlife cancelled

We are sorry to report that the 2020 Festival of Wildlife, due to take place on 25 and 26 July at Panshanger Park, has been cancelled as a consequence of the continuing Covid-19 emergency.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and Tarmac plc, who organise the annual festival in association with HNHS, have decided that a mass-participation event would not be appropriate at the end of July even if the current lockdown has been partially or wholly lifted by then.

Trevor James BEM

HNHS warmly congratulates Trevor James on being awarded the British Empire Medal "for services to nature conservation in Hertfordshire" in the 2020 New Year Honours.

Trevor has been the county recorder for both plants and beetles in Hertfordshire for 40 years. He is also the author of Flora of Hertfordshire (2009) and Beetles of Hertfordshire, which was published to critical acclaim in 2018.