Sightings and News for May 2003

Total species recorded during the 2003 season is 17

Club-tailed Dragonfly (Gomphus vulgatissimus)
Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)
Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea)
White-faced Darter (Leucorrhinia dubia)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo)
Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)
Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)
Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum)

The first adult Emperor Dragonfly of the year was seen flying at Newchurch Common (66E SJ607690) this morning by Richard Hardcastle. He also saw Four-spotted Chaser and Downy Emerald at Gull Pool (66E SJ602687). Meanwhile Stu Burnet was down on the Weaver at Batherton Hall (64U SJ660497) where he found a few Beautiful Demoiselle flying amidst abundant Banded Demoiselle.

Andy Harmer sends good news from Gull Pool (66E SJ602687) where he found a newly emerged male White-faced Darter. It appears that the species is hanging on in Cheshire.

From a pond by the River Weaver close to Hartford Bridge (67K SJ646710) Peter Shaw saw a mature male Broad-bodied Chaser which was too active to be photographed.

The fifteenth species for the month comes from Anderton Nature Park (67M SJ651751) where Paul Hill found 9 Emperor Dragonfly exuviae this morning. Paul also reports 3 Common Darter on the wing at the same site. At Newchurch Common (66E SJ607690) several Downy Emerald and lots of Red-eyed Damselfly were seen. The numbers of this latter species seem particularly high this year.

Exciting news today with Allan Brandon's discovery of a new site for Variable Damselfly at Barton (45M SJ456541) which is some way from the nearest known site and where this species has not been recorded before in spite of regular visits. Could it be that the adults seen here had migrated over several kilometres? Also present were Azure Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly and Four-spotted Chaser.

Dave Walters reports further Hairy Dragonfly along with hundreds of Red-eyed Damselfly at Vale Royal (66P SJ642698). Meanwhile from Thurstaston Common (28M SJ243848) Harry Davies reports lots of Large Red Damselfly and also Four-spotted Chaser ovipositing.


The annual visit to the Dee saw Paul Hill, Richard Gabb, Mike Robinson, Paul Derbyshire and myself walking the banks in the Aldford area (46A SJ418600). We were finally rewarded with a fine view of a teneral female Club-tailed Dragonfly after diligent searching. Also seen in the area were Banded Demoiselle, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly. Gail Butterill found Club-tailed Dragonfly exuviae at Farndon (45C SJ412543).

Female Club-tailed Dragonfly (Gomphus vulgatissimus) at Aldford 26-5-03. Photo © David Kitching 2003

Later we visited the marlpits at Churton (45I SJ430565) where we saw several Variable Damselfly and three Hairy Dragonfly including a pair in cop.

Peter Shaw reports that Hairy Dragonfly is also now flying on the old river at Vale Royal (66P SJ642698) along with Red-eyed Damselfly. Whilst Andy Harmer found a teneral Broad-bodied Chaser at Rocksavage (58A SJ519802). At Moore Reserve (58X SJ573853) Rob McHale and family found a couple of Four-spotted Chaser, a single Emerald Damselfly and a few Azure Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly.

Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) at Churton 26-5-03. Photo © Paul Derbyshire 2003

Paul Hill was surprised to find all four wings of a Common Darter in an amphibian trap at Neumanns Flash (67S SJ665752) today. Sadly the rest of the insect was nowhere to be seen, indicating that something had enjoyed a good meal.

Club-tailed Dragonfly
and Hairy Dragonfly were both seen by Andy Harmer on the Dee at Aldford (46A SJ418600) today. Also present were abundant Banded Demoiselle.

Richard Hargreaves visited Billinge Green Flash (67V SJ682713) and found only damselflies and an unidentified Chaser exuvia. Present were
Blue-tailed Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Red-eyed Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly.

In spite of the wind and rain I was able to photograph a teneral female Red-eyed Damselfly at Newchurch Common (66E SJ607690) today.

Teneral female Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) at Newchurch Common 20-5-03
Photo © David Kitching 2003

Meanwhile Richard Hargreaves reports a single Emerald Damselfly from a site in Lymm (68Y SJ6987).

The first Red-eyed Damselfly of the season were seen at Hatchmere (57L SJ553722) when Andy Harmer found four tenerals.


Dave Walters visited Billinge Green Flash (67V SJ682713) where he found Blue-tailed Damselfly and Azure Damselfly flying. Later at Vale Royal (67K SJ640705) there were both these species plus Common Blue Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly. Alan Brandon visted a pond at Barton (45M SJ456541) where several Blue-tailed Damselfly and a few Azure Damselfly were flying.

Today at Newchurch Common (66E SJ607690) were the first 2003 records of Common Blue Damselfly with many tenerals flying. Also seen were several Downy Emerald which were easy to approach and photograph during the regular rain showers.


Teneral female Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea) at Newchurch Common 12-5-03. Photo © David Kitching 2003

Two more first sightings for the year were made this afternoon at Newchurch Common (66E SJ607690) where David Kitching and Dave Walters recorded a number of teneral Four-spotted Chaser and Downy Emerald along with large numbers of Large Red Damselfly and Azure Damselfly. Dave also reports that Large Red Damselfly were flying on the angling pond at Vale Royal (67K SJ640705).

Male Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) speckled with pollen at Newchurch Common 9-5-03
Photo © David Kitching 2003

A visit to Anderton Nature Park (67M SJ651751) in bright conditions soon yielded several Large Red Damselfly newly emerged aong with a number of teneral Azure Damselfly. Rob McHale found the same species at a pond at Fearnhead (69F SJ634910).

If you have made any Odonata observations in Cheshire and would like to share them with others or wish to take part in the recording scheme please email me.

Sightings for April 2003
Sightings for June 2003
Sightings for July 2003
Sightings for August 2003
Sightings for September 2003
Sightings for October/November 2003

Back to Cheshire Dragonflies

© David Kitching 2003

Last updated 12.7.2003