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At Dungeness Bird Observatory we take security of your data very seriously. The data we hold is kept securely on a password protected device and we never pass on any information to a third party. For more information please read our Data Policy available here.

2016 Report

Our 2016 Report is now available from the Observatory for £8.00 plus P&P if needed. Please contact the Warden: dungenessobs@vfast.co.uk

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Records are kept of the Dragonflies (Odonata) seen in the Observatory recording area although recording was fairly casual before 1995.


The first dragonflies to appear are Red-eyed Damselflies, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies and Hairy Hawkers. The first three of these are usually found around the banks of the Long Pits but the Hairy Hawker is just as likely to be seen amongst the bushes of the trapping area or in the moat.
Red-eyed Damselfly 
Hairy Hawker
Black-tailed Skimmers and Four-spotted Chasers are the next to appear with the former usually found holding small territories on open stretches of shingle bank on the Long Pits. Emperor Dragonflies, whilst not occurring in large numbers are very obvious as they patrol large territories over open areas of water. From the end of July it is always worth checking the large dragonflies as in recent years a number of Lesser Emperors have been seen. The first British record of this species was in 1996 but numbers have increased since then and Dungeness has provided a considerable proportion of the records.
Four-spotted Chaser
Lesser Emperor
Early summer sees the emergence of small numbers of Small Red-eyed Damselflies - a recent colonist of the Long Pits. The southern end of the Southern Pit is the best place to look for these.
Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Late autumn sees the emergence of large numbers of Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters and their numbers are also increased by the arrival of immigrants from the continent. In some years, exceptional numbers of darters can arrive and when this occurs it is possible that other rarer species will also be involved. The year 1995 was one such year and large numbers of Yellow-winged Darters arrived and with seven individuals of the Vagrant Darter were also identified. However, with the latter species it is almost impossible to separate them from Common Darters without catching them for examination. A small number of the heathland species, the Black Darter were also seen at this time.
In 2015 a Downy Emerald caught in the moat was a new species for Dungeness and only our second record of Broad-bodied Chaser was noted.
Downy Emerald
Broad-bodied Chaser

See below for a list of the Odonata occuring at Dungeness
Common nameLatin nameStatus
BANDED DEMOISELLECalopteryx splendensRecorded for the first time in 2004 when up to 16 were seen at the Long Pits in mid-June. Singles in 2006, 2013 and 2014 and on three days in 2017.
RED-EYED DAMSELFLYErythromma najasVery common since 1996 and now occasionally abundant.
SMALL RED-EYED DAMSELFLYErythromma viridulumRecorded for the first time in 2004 when up to 16 were seen at the Long Pits in mid-August. Small numbers again in 2005 and 2006. Peak count of 50 in 2007. Still present in small numbers in 2009 and 2010. Common in 2011 and 2012.
AZURE DAMSELFLYCoenagrion puellaGenerally uncommon but now mainly common to very common and abundant in 2003.
VARIABLE DAMSELFLYCoenagrion pulchellumFirst seen in 2002 and common in 2003. Three records in 2005. Not seen in 2006. Four individuals in 2009 and 2011.
COMMON BLUE DAMSELFLYEnallagma cyathigerumAbundant.
BLUE-TAILED DAMSELFLYIschnura elegansAbundant.
EMERALD DAMSELFLYLestes sponsaUncommon to rare.
HAIRY HAWKERBrachytron pratenseCommon.
BROWN HAWKERAeshna grandisCommon.
MIGRANT HAWKERAeshna mixtaVery common.
EMPEROR DRAGONFLYAnax imperatorCommon.
LESSER EMPEROR DRAGONFLYAnax parthenopeRare. Single records in 1998, 1999 and 2005 and 2006, three in 2000, two in 2003 and one in 2007. Five in 2010 including an ovipositing female. Seen on 14 days in 2011 with two ovipositing females. Seen on two days in 2012. One on July 18th 2014 and on two days in 2016.
DOWNY EMERALDCordulia aenea One caught in the Moat on May 21st 2015 was the first Dungeness area record.
BLACK-TAILED SKIMMEROrthetrum cancellatumCommon.
FOUR-SPOTTED CHASERLibellula quadrimaculataCommon. Very common in 2004 and 2005.
BROAD-BODIED CHASERLibellula depressaRare.
BLACK DARTERSymetrum danaeRare. Only recorded in 1995 and on September 21st 2014.
YELLOW-WINGED DARTERSympetrum flaveolumRare. Only seen in 1995 when seen in large numbers.
RED-VEINED DARTERSympetrum fonscolombiiRare. Four records in 1996, one in 1998, two in 2000, three in 2002 and one in 2007. One in 2011. Seven in 2017.
RUDDY DARTERSympetrum sanguineumFormerly common but numbers seem to be declining and now uncommon. Numbers improved to common to be common in 2006
COMMON DARTERSympetrum striolatumAbundant.
VAGRANT DARTERSympetrum vulgatumRare. Seven records in 1995.
KEY
AbundantPeak counts over 1000
Very commonPeak counts between 100-1000
CommonPeak counts between 10-100
UncommonPeak counts less than 10
RareLess than annual