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   

 

Gerald Salisbury Lecture 2023 - Hertfordshire's 'New' Forest wildlife

A Happy New Year to all our members – and thanks to everyone who has renewed (or is about to renew) their subscriptions – which fall due every January!

We are looking forward to the Gerald Salisbury Memorial Lecture on the evening of Wednesday 22 February when Tim Wright and Prof. Brian Legg  will talk about the flora and fauna of Heartwood Forest outside St Albans.  More than 600,000 native trees and shrubs were planted over nine years on previously arable farmland and HNHS / Bird Club members have been working with other volunteers to monitor the site's wildlife from the start.

Wildlife artist Ernest Leahy (1942-2022)

The HNHS and Herts Bird Club have learned with sorrow of the death of the popular Hertfordshire wildlife artist Ernest Leahy,  aged 79, who was also a keen birder and long-standing member of the society.

Ernie, who was a generous contributor of illustrations to the Herts Bird Report and pictures to raise money at HNHS conferences  was largely self-taught. 

Featured picture is Ernie's painting of Fieldfares feasting on apples, contributed to the Herts Bird Report, 2013

Autumn Meeting learns of action to engage landholders in wildlife conservation

Action to engage farmers, golf clubs and other landholders in wildlife conservation was the featured theme at the HNHS Autumn Meeting and AGM on Saturday 1 October.

More than 40 members attended the Society's first 'face-to-face' conference since Covid restrictions were lifted held at the offices of Affinity Water in Hatfield.