Beautiful Demoiselle gaining a foothold?

Although the Banded Demoiselle, which favours rivers and streams with a silty substrate, is widespread in Hertfordshire and neighbouring counties, the related Beautiful Demoiselle has only occasionally been recorded in the county. A population recently became established just outside the Hertfordshire border, at Forty hall, Enfield, and some from this population seem to be dispersing into Hertfordshire.

Small numbers have been seen from public footpaths along the Cuffley Brook (best looked for along the Turkey Brook at Forty Hall (Middlesex), but can potentially be seen in Herts where the footpaths cross Cuffley Brook at TL310015 or TL315009). Further afield, single males have been seen in a garden not far from the River Stort, on 1st & 3rd June, and at Hertford Heath, on 23rd June.

Beautiful Demoiselles prefer streams with stonier bottoms than Banded Demoiselle, often streams that are relatively shaded and sometimes streams that are little more than a trickle (although it does have to be permanent streams). This type of habitat isn't generally very good for other species of dragonfly and damselfly, but if there is habitat like this in your area it may be worth keeping an eye on.


Green-eyed Hawker found at new Hertfordshire sites

After arriving unexpectedly at Amwell Nature Reserve in 2015, and being seen annually at this site every year since, the Green-eyed Hawker (or Norfolk Hawker), Aeshna isoceles, has been seen at three additional localities so far this year, which is an encouraging sign for its continued presence in our county.

Up to two males have been seen at Hertford Heath, a single at Rye Meads and two males plus an ovipositing female at King's Mead. This is in addition to up to four males that have been seen at one time in Tumbling Bay at Amwell.

The species favours clean, well vegetated water bodies and could spread to other sites in the future.


Keeled Skimmer finds Hertford Heath

An additional exciting find on 27th June was a female Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) at Hertford Heath (photo uploaded to the dragonfly album in the gallery).

The nearest established populations of Keeled Skimmer are on heathland to the south and west of London, so this one seems to have traveled some distance.

The last Hertfordshire record was of a male photographed at Bury Green on 10th July 2003.