Saturday, 26 November 2022

Lollingdon - 25 November

1 Common Darter

In  the margin of a flooded field SU 574 856.

Paul Chandler 

Common Darter (c) Paul Chandler 

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Cutteslowe Park - 22 November

1m and 2f Common Darter 

Also two belated Willow Emerald sightings from the southern tip Sunnymead Park:

6 October - 1
8 October - 2

Nick Boyd

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Standlake Common, 20th November

One Common Darter by the gate leading to Langley Lane hide. My latest ever British dragonfly sighting.

David Hastings

Common Darter ♂© David Hastings

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Standlake Common - 12 November

3+ Common Darter

Stephen Burch

Wroxton College Lakes - 12 November

1m Willow Emerald Damselfly

1m Migrant Hawker 

11+ Common Darter, including 4 pair in cop, two of which were ovipositing.

Also a belated record of a Common Darter from Balscote Quarry on 9 November

Steve Holliday

Saturday, 5 November 2022

Friday, 4 November 2022

Farmoor, 4th November

I saw five male Common Darters between Pinkhill and Shrike Meadow this morning, and another one in the car park.

David Hastings

Common Darter ♂© David Hastings

Saturday, 29 October 2022

Little Wittenham - 29 October

19 Common Darter (including a pair in cop) and 4 Willow Emerald Damselflies enjoying the exceptionally warm mid-afternoon sun on the last weekend of October.

Observations entered in iRecord

Common Darter (c) John Bloomfield

Willow Emerald Damselfly (c) John Bloomfield


Ardington - 29 October

Pool to SW of village SU430882:

2+ Willow Emerald Damselfly
3+ Common Darter, inc one pair in cop.

Enjoying the absurdly warm sunlight in the top of a small oak tree.

Stephen Burch

Sunday, 23 October 2022

Shillingford - Little Wittenham - 23 October

During the few brief hours of warm sunshine today, 14 Common Darter and 3 Willow Emerald Damselflies in the Shillingford-Little Wittenham area. In addition, I had a view of a distant blue mosaic hawker (probably Migrant Hawker) but was not able to get a positive id.

Common Darter and Willow Emerald Damselfly records entered in iRecord.

Common Darter (c) John Bloomfield

Common Darter (c) John Bloomfield

Willow Emerald Damselfly - male (c) John Bloomfield

Ardington - 23 October

 Pool to SW of village SU430882:

2 Willow Emerald Damselfly
1 Darter sp - presumed Common (glimpse only)

Stephen Burch

Nicola Devine 1971-2022

Some very sad news to report. As some of you may already know, Nicola Devine, one the most prolific contributors to this blog, has died aged only 51. 

In 2018, Nicola developed an interest in the dragonflies and damselflies of the Trap Grounds Town Green & Local Wildlife Site, the small urban nature reserve in north Oxford. She then started sending me news and photographs and she quickly became adept at photography and identification. Through her assiduous recording, huge patience, sharp eyes and lengthy almost daily visits, she accumulated an impressive site list for such a small urban reserve and established the Trap Grounds as a key odonata site in the county.

By this summer, she had recorded and photographed a total of 22 different species, including notable finds such as Club-tailed Dragonfly (once), Downy Emerald and Small Red-eyed Damselfly (from 2021). In 2020, Nicola discovered Willow Emerald Damselflies had arrived at the Trap Grounds which was then one of only three known sites for the species in the county. She also confirmed breeding for the first time in the county. As a result, the site started to attract enthusiasts from both within the county and further afield and I understand Nicola then kindly acted as chief spotter, pointing out this diminutive species to all comers! 

Since 2019, I am most grateful to have been shown around the reserve by Nicola every year, including this one. Each time I was extraordinarily impressed by her powers of observation, and her patience. In addition to odonata, Nicola was interested in all forms of wildlife and by quietly walking around and waiting she was able to get some wonderful photographs including ones of young Sparrowhawks just out of the nest, and even an inquisitive weasel.  

Since summer 2019, Nicola had known that her life was limited by a terminal disease but she bore this with extraordinary fortitude and determination to keep visiting the Trap Grounds as often as possible. She was able to keep getting out until very shortly before her death and even managed to get away for a last late summer holiday. 

Nicola will be sorely missed as a source of photographs and information on the varied wildlife of the Trap Grounds.  

Catherine Robinson, secretary of the Friends of the Trap Grounds, and I would like to appeal for contributors to this Blog to visit the Trap Grounds during the summer months to photograph and identify the dragonflies and damselflies to be found there. The Trap Grounds reserve is an important site for odonata, but in order to maintain its status, the Friends need continuing evidence and expert advice now that Nicola is no longer with us. 

For those of you new to the site, which is open to the public 24/7, the entrance is on the canal towpath in north Oxford, immediately south of the Frenchay Road canal bridge (nearest postcode: OX2 6TF).  Maps of the site can be found on the Friends of the Trap Grounds website and Catherine can be contacted through this page on the website

Here is a small selection of Nicola's huge number of dragonfly photos from her beloved Trap Grounds. 

RIP Nicola.

Stephen Burch

Willow Emerald Damselfly by Nicola Devine
The most notable species she found at the Trap Grounds

Emergent Southern Hawker by Nicola Devine.
The Dragonfly Pond was the place for these in June/July

Fully mature male Southern Hawker by Nicola Devine.

Common Darter by Nicola Devine

Saturday, 22 October 2022

Aston, 22nd October

A male Common Darter was in my garden in west Oxon at lunchtime today. 

David Hastings

Common Darter ♂© David Hastings

Thursday, 20 October 2022

Otmoor, 18th October

Migrant Hawker - 1
Common Darter - 6+

David Hastings

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Wroxton College - 16 October

Example of numerous Willow Emerald oviposition scars on an ash twig. This is a good method for confirming breeding of this species which is rapidly expanding its range in the county. 

Willow Emerald oviposition scars © Gareth Blockley, Gill and Steve Holliday

 Also a female Common Darter at Balscote Quarry on 13 October 

Saturday, 8 October 2022

River Thames at Farmoor - 4 October

1 Willow Emerald Damselfly

Geoff  Dymott per Facebook

Standlake Common - 8 October

1 Common Darter


Stephen Burch

Common Darter © Stephen Burch

Steeple Aston - Southern Hawker emergences in 2022

Deborah Dunn has had a very productive year for her daily monitoring of Southern Hawker emergences and exuviae at her small garden pond. This year she counted a remarkable total of 60 exuviae, spread out over an extended period from 29 June to 1 August. She also recorded 12 live emergences. 

The plot below shows the daily exuviae counts for comparison with 2020 and 2021. The 2022 total of 60 was by far the highest of these three years and this year was the most extended season so far. 

Daily exuviae counts from a small garden pond in Steeple Aston for 2020 - 2022

A photo of 56 of the 60 exuviae that emerged this year © Deborah Dunn

Sunday, 2 October 2022

Aston, 2nd October

Southern Hawker was ovipositing in my garden pond this afternoon.

David Hastings

Southern Hawker ♀© David Hastings

Saturday, 1 October 2022

1st October, Central Oxford

Now that it's October I guess that a sighting of a Migrant Hawker briefly in my garden on Saturday is more significant. No photos I'm afraid.


Little Wittenham / Shillingford - 1 October

7 Common Darter and 3 Willow Emerald Damselflies.

Entered in iRecord

Willow Emerald Damselfly - male (c) John Bloomfield

Willow Emerald Damselfly - male (c) John Bloomfield

Common Darter (c) John Bloomfield

Wroxton College Lakes - 1 October

1 Willow Emerald Damselfly - by the main lake (first ever Oxon record in October)
2 Hawker sp. - one probably a Migrant Hawker.

Steve Holliday

in iRecord

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Buscot Park NT - 28 September

1 Willow Emerald Damselfly - SU245965

Definitely the furthest west record in the county! 

Bill Haynes, per iRecord

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Letcombe Bassett - 22 September

1m Willow Emerald Damselfly 

Note the blue on the face and the underside near the tip of the abdomen - apparently shown by some males late in the season. 

Willow Emerald Damselfly (c) Mark Bradfield

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Cutteslowe Park - 18 September

1m Willow Emerald Damselfly.  By the pond.
2 Migrant Hawker 
3 Common Darter

Nick Boyd 

Saturday, 17 September 2022

Wantage - 17 September

Willow Emerald: along the hedge between the field at the back of the Health Centre and the old canal. 
1 Southern Hawker and 20 Common Darters around the edge of the field.

Brian Walker

Southern Hawker (c) Brian Walker 
Willow Emerald (c) Brian Walker 

Friday, 16 September 2022

Wroxton College Lakes 16 Sept 2022

Willow Emerald Damselfly 1: c 7m up in a conifer at end of Main Lake - the first sighting in this area of the site.
Common Blue Damselfly 14m plus a couple unidentified blue damsels.
Migrant Hawker 5m
Ruddy Darter 3m
Darter sp 1f

Steve Holliday and Gareth Blockley

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Wantage - 14 September

Stockham Stormwater pond SU389887.

Willow Emerald Damselfly 3 (including a pair ovipositing on a thin Willow shoot.)
Common Darter 11
Migrant Hawker 2
Southern Hawker 2

Brian Walker

Migrant Hawker © Brian Walker

Willow Emerald © Brian Walker

Ardington - 14 September

At the pond south-west of the village in the afternoon sunshine SU430882:

4+ Willow Emerald Damselfly - including 1m and a tandem pair settling and possibly ovipositing on an Oak tree branch overhanging the water.
4+ Common Darter inc 1 tandem pair

Stephen Burch

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Aston, 13th September

A female Southern Hawker was ovipositing in/around my garden pond today.

Southern Hawker ♀© David hastings

Monday, 12 September 2022

Wytham Woods - 7 September

Around the Duck Pond SP45810750

3m+ Willow Emerald Damselfly
10-20 Common Darter
Ruddy Darter
Hawker sp. Probably Southern

Note: This pond in Wytham Woods is very close to the Upper Pond where this species was first recorded in Oxfordshire - back in 2019! 

In iRecord.

Treve Willis

Male Willow Emerald Damselfly © Treve Willis

Male Willow Emerald Damselfly © Treve Willis

Wroxton College Lakes - 11 September

Willow Emerald 1m by Lady Pool
Common Blue Damselfly 3m plus 5 probables
Migrant Hawker 3m by Lady Pool
Black-tailed Skimmer 1m by Main Lake
Ruddy Darter 1m by Lady Pool

Steve and Gill Holliday

Sunday, 11 September 2022

Aston, 11th September

Common Darter - pair in tandem, with female ovipositing in garden pond

Southern Hawker - 1 male 

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Standlake - 10 September

Southern Hawker - ovipositing in garden pond. SP403032

Mick Cunningham 

Earth Trust, Little Wittenham - 10 September

7 Willow Emerald Damselflies (3 pairs in cop plus an additional individual), 3 Migrant Hawker, 35 Common Darters (15 pairs in cop and ovipositing plus an additional 5 individuals), 2 Ruddy Darter.

Observations entered in iRecord

Willow Emerald Damselfly (c) John Bloomfield

Migrant Hawker (c) John Bloomfield

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Shrike Meadow, Farmoor - 7 September

2 Blue Damselflies
3 Brown Hawkers 
1 Migrant Hawker
1 tandem pair Common Darter.

James Wainscoat

Migrant Hawker © James Wainscoat

Common Darters © James Wainscoat

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Faringdon Folly Park Pond - 7 September

c.10 Small Red-eyed Damselfly 
1 Blue-tailed Damselfly
3+ Migrant Hawker
10+ Common Darter

Stephen Burch

Migrant Hawker © Stephen Burch

Distant Small Red-eyed Damselfly © Stephen Burch

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Grimsbury Reservoir - 6 September

Willow Emerald 1m - by path in wood c100m from location of previous record  earlier this week.
Black-tailed skimmer 1m by reservoir.

Steve Holliday 

Saturday, 3 September 2022

Grimsbury Reservoir - 3 September

1m Willow Emerald Damselfly along the river by the wood at SP 46158 42418.

Gareth Blockley 

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Wroxton College Lakes 1 September 2022

Willow Emerald Damselfly 3. A pair in tandem and a male at Lady Pool. All 3 close together at first on bare twigs some 5m up in a yew by the edge of the pool. The pair drifted off at height and were lost to view despite searching. The male perched for a while on a bare twig before flying off. There are willows and alders around the pool.

Brown Hawker 1 at the same pool.

Steve Holliday 

Boundary Brook NR, Oxford - 30 August

4 Ruddy Darter
4 Common Darter
1-2 Southern Hawker (prob)

Nick Boyd & Helen Edwards 

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Trap Grounds, Oxford - 30 August pm

10+ Willow Emerald Damselfly. Mostly males but at least one tandem pair seen.

Nicola Devine

Willow Emerald Damselfly (m) © Nicola Devine

Willow Emerald Damselfly (tandem pair) © Nicola Devine


Monday, 29 August 2022

Trap Grounds, 29 August

Willow Emerald Damselfly 5+ m
Common Blue Damselfly 1m 1f
Migrant Hawker - 2m
Darter sp - many around wild-flower patch and Swan Pond, 1 pair in tandem

Nicola Devine

Common Darter © Nicola Devine

Migrant Hawker © Nicola Devine

Wolvercote Lake - 29 August

1f  Willow Emerald Damselfly - in the scrub just beyond the back gardens on the east side of Elmthorpe Road. First site record
1 Southern Hawker - over the lake, 
2 Migrant Hawker - over the railway lines
2m  Ruddy Darter - Goose Green.

Nick Boyd

Willow Emerald Damselfly © Nick Boyd

Shrike Meadow, Farmoor - 26 August

Thames path adjacent to Shrike Meadow:

1f  Willow Emerald Damselfly

From hide:

15+ Migrant Hawker

Nick Boyd

Willow Emerald Damselfly © Nick Boyd 

South Stoke - 27 August

Willow Emerald Damselfly - good numbers at the pond, where first seen in 2021

John Lindley per iRecord

Clattercote Reservoir - 28 August 2022

Blue Damselfly sp 1m - the only damselfly seen!
Migrant Hawker 24 - 22m and a pair in cop
Brown Hawker 1
Southern Hawker 1m
Black-tailed Skimmer 2m
Ruddy Darter 3m

Steve and Gill Holliday, Gareth Blockley

in iRecord

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Abbey Gardens, Abingdon - 28 August

 River cut-off/pond - nearest end to Riverside Car Park:

5+ Willow Emerald Damselfly - first record for Abingdon!

Martin Green

Location for the Willow Emeralds © Martin Green