Irish Dragonfly News 2008

News and reports of sightings of Irish dragonflies will appear here from the beginning of the 2008 season. The most recent news received will be at the top of the page. Please send your records to dragonflyireland_news@hotmail.co.uk. The DragonflyIreland project is still active and records received will be entered into the DragonflyIreland database, so please provide grid references and other information with your records. Records should be sent to the Irish Recorder who is now Brian Nelson (brian.nelson@nmni.com)

By preference I will use the vernacular names from the British Wildlife European Dragonfly Guide , but with the BDS names given frequently. Scientific names will be given on all occasions.

The 2007 news is archived here (April to June) and here (July to end of year)

Brian Nelson

Last updated 13 October 3rd Irish record of Common Goldenring/Golden-ringed Dragonfly Cordulegaster boltonii Correction the specimen was found at Woodstown Lower S6905 close to the River Douglas.

The distribution maps have been updated on the DragonflyIreland site (www.habitas.org.uk/dragonflyireland). A sincere thanks to all the recorders who have contributed records! They indicate the records received since the end of DragonflyIreland in 2003 up to the end of 2007. New square records are distinguished by a square symbol. The maps of the common species not surpringly show little change and perhaps the most striking maps are those for Blue Emperor Anax imperator, Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope, Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta and Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum which all show significant range extensions. O. cancellatum now completely encircles N. Ireland and one wonders why it has not been seen here yet. My prediction is that it will appear in Fermanagh and possible localities are stony shores of Lower Lough Macnean or Upper Lough Erne. With the low water levels here this year the habitat seems very likely for it.

Please have a look at the maps and if you have any outstanding records please send them in. Even more useful would be records from this year which plug gaps or update old records. So please keep the records flowing in. Regular recording is essential to maintain the value of the DragonflyIreland database.

August/September observations, Peter Doyle This is just a belated email concerning my observations for August/September. 1 male Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea in my back garden, here in Dun Laoghaire on 15/8. 2-3 Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis at Terenure College lake, Terenure, County Dublin on 24/8. 4 Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis and 3 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum at Terenure College lake on 31/8. On this latter date at this site, a small hawker flew by me which I'm pretty certain was an Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta but it was away before I could confirm the identification. 3 Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta, 20+ Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum, 3-5 Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum & 1 Emerald Damselfly/Common Spreadwing Lestes sponsa at Blackditch NR, County Wicklow on 4/9. 1 female Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea ovipositing & circa 10 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum at a small pool behind the Killiney Golf Course on Roche's Hill, County Dublin on 7/9. At Glendalough, County Wicklow on the 8/9, I had 4+ Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens (males), 5+ Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea - 1 female & 4 males), 10+ Black Darter Sympetrum danae, 30+ Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum, 25+ Emerald Damselfly/Common Spreadwing Lestes sponsa, 4 Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum, 3 Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans & 1 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula (all males for these 3 latter zygoptera species). 2-3 Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta at Lady's Island and 2 male Blue Emperor Anax imperator, still in pristine condition (my latest date for this species) with a dozen or so darters and 2 Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta at the Quarry pool near Tacumshin Lake, all in County Wexford on 18/9. 1 female Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea ovipositing again and 3-5 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum on Roche's Hill, Killiney on 20/9. 8+ Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea (at least 2 females and 6 males) at Powerscourt Waterfall on 21/9. 3 Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta (including a pair in tandem) at a pool at the back of Howth Castle and 1 female Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta & 6+ darters in the Alder Marsh, Bull Island, County Dublin on 26/9. 10+ Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta at Tacumshin Lake, County Wexford on 27/9. Darters were remarkably scarce here on this date with no zygoptera species noted either. 1 male Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta on Cape Clear Island, County Cork on 13/10. With the way the weather currently is, this may well be the signing off missive for the season.

12 October: Tacumshin Lake, Co. Wexford, Noel Keogh Sighting of what was presumed to be a male Emperor Dragonfly but given time of year and recent occurrences of Nearctic vagrants probably best left as Anax sp. Seen in the Forgotten Corner area of the lake. 2 Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta also present.

11 October: Blackditch East Coast Nature Reserve, Co. Wicklow, Niall T. Keogh A male Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta and 2 male Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum still on the wing, late afternoon.

16 September: Woodstown, Co Waterford, Pat Coghlan and Brian Nelson A dead Common Goldenring/Golden-ringed Dragonfly Cordulegaster boltonii was found on the road at at S6905 Woodstown Lower close to the River Douglas.. Pat contacted BN and sent the specimen which, although in poor condition, could be confirmed as a female boltonii (see picture). This is the third Irish specimen, all of which have been found in a small area around Waterford City (see here for the accounts of the earlier records). Why and where are they coming from are the obvious questions which need answered. Its too late this year, but I woud urge anyone in the area to look for this species next year. It appears that they may be breeding undetected in the south-east. If its about, it should be easy to spot in the right habitat.

Possible sightings of Green Darner Anax junius- thanks to Dave Allen, John Coveney, Ian Rippey and Alex Lees for alerts and information There were two reports of possible Green Darner Anax junius in west of Ireland. Stress they are only possible records but any large dragonflies on the west coast would repay a close look. One sighting was at Letterfrack by John Coveney (details on the archives of the Irish Bird Network) and the second on Inishmore by Alex Lees who told me the following......"I'm afraid this will have to remain 'one that got away' - I only had a 3 second view of a large green hawker that flew past me at close range as I was cycling on Inishmore. This followed the arrival of 15 Ring-necked Ducks on the island and an arrival of American birds across the SW. However without a better view I'd be reticent to eliminate an emperor sp."

8 October: North Slob, Co. Wexford, Christopher Wilson via Ian Rippey reports 2 Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta

5 October: Shannon Airport Golf Club, Geoff Hunt Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta and Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum

8 October: Letterfrack, Co Galway I have been told that a possible Green Darner Anax junius has been reported on one of the rare bird services. No other details known at this stage.

3 October: Lough Gur, Co Limerick, Geoff Hunt 1 male Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta

27 Sept: Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Niall T. Keogh: At Glendalough for the weekend as part of a UCD ecology field trip. Several Sympetrum sp. seen flying around the boardwalk which surrounds the lower lake but none were specifically identified. A Black Darter Sympetrum danae larva was found in the marsh at the western end of the Upper Lake and a male Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea was seen along Miners Road.

21 Sept: Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, Niall T. Keogh & Noel Keogh: Several Aeshna sp. seen on the marsh in the early evening with one identified as a male Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta, giving nice views hunting along the Buckthorn bushes in the dunes.

21 September: Lough Ioral, Cape Clear, Co Cork, Geoff Hunt via Ian Rippey 6 Blue Emperor Anax imperator [ a pair in tandem], 8 Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea [ female ovipositing] and 2 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum in nearby bog.

20 September 2008: Keenan's Cross pond, Co Louth (O094904), Don Hodgers Four Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta present, including a mating pair (photo). About twenty Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum were present, including a couple of mating pairs and one ovipositing pair. There were about 60 Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum including mating pairs. Sunny, broken cumulus clouds with cirrus and altocumulus, 18 degrees C.

20 September: Lough Money, Co Down, David Nixon At least four Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta in the usual area near to the water treatment works.

13 September: Ferrard Cross pond, Co Louth (O132895), Don Hodgers Two male Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta present today with about 15 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum including 3 ovipositing pairs. Good numbers of Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum about six Emerald Damselfly/Common Spreadwing Lestes sponsa and a single Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans were also present.

13 September: Keenan's Cross pond, Co Louth (O094904), Don Hodgers A short check of this site. About eight Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum were present with perhaps 40 Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum. Sunny, broken cumulus clouds, 19 degrees C.

1 September: Lough Money, Co Down, David Nixon Paid a short visit here today and did manage to get a brief view of a male Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta in flight at the usual site near the Water treatment works. This is now the third year that the species has been recorded here. There were up to 50 Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum, 15 Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum, 6 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum and a single Emerald Damselfly/Common Spreadwing Lestes sponsa along the track leading to the Water treatment works.

31 August: Montiaghs Moss and Broadwater, Co Antrim, Ian Rippey In bright weather (almost the only sunshine all week) I visited Montiaghs and Broadwater near Aghalee. There were at least 3 Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis and Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea at Montiaghs, along with 3 Emerald Damselfly/Common Spreadwing Lestes sponsa, about 4 Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum and 8 Black Darter Sympetrum danae. At Broadwater there was at least 1 Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis and 2 Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum.

24 August: Keenan's Cross Pond, Co Louth, O094904, Don Hodgers One male Blue Emperor Anax imperator was present this morning. Also present were two smaller hawkers that were not seen well enough to identify. About 60 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum including 6 ovipositing pairs were seen but no Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum were noticed. Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum were numerous and some Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans were also seen. Sunny, 20 degrees C.

13-22 August: Various sites in Co Antrim and Armagh, Ian Rippey

21st August On a visit on 21st August to the site of the now demolished Carnagh House Hotel near Keady (H826295), I caught a female Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum; there was also a Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis. I also saw a Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea and an unidentified Sympetrum near the Callan River at Paper Mill Bridge (H857393) between Armagh and Keady, on the same day.

17 August There were 1 or perhaps 2 each of Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis and Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea 100-200 yards north of Milford Railway Cutting Nature Reserve, and also 2 Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea near some woodland at Seagahan Dam south of Armagh (H93). Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis was also seen in my garden on 13th August.

12 August at Brackagh Bog NNR there was a male and female Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea, 2 or 3 Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis and Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum, a male Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella, 2 Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans and probably 30+ Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum including several mature males.

4 August 2008: Bogland at N786667 near Durhamstown, Co Meath (Bohermeen Bog), Don Hodgers Three Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea with seven Black Darter Sympetrum danae, good numbers of Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum, Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans, Common Spreadwing Lestes sponsa and a few Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum. Overcast, warm.

1/2 August: The Raven, Co Wexford, Butterfly Conservation NI Branch via David Nixon Over the two days following were seen: a minimum of Blue Emperor Anax imperator, including a female ovipositing; 2 Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis; 1 Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea; 4 Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata; many Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum and Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum; and 2 Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans

2 August: Keenan's Cross Pond, Co Louth, O094904, Don Hodgers One male Blue Emperor Anax imperator, one male Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum (photo) and small numbers of Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum. Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum and to a lesser extent Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans were numerous. Sun, cumulus clouds and showers, 19 degrees C.

28 July: Bogland at N786667 near Durhamstown, Co Meath, Don Hodgers Three Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea, with good numbers of Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula, Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum, Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans, Common Spreadwing Lestes sponsa and Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum. Sunny, warm.

26 May to 29 July: highlights at various sites, Geoff Campbell 26 May - Quarry near Brockagh, Co. L/derry C768147 only a couple of Small Bluetail/Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura pumilio (photo) seen with pools along the access lane almost dried out; 5 June - Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens on River Mourne nr Victoria Bridge H343911 (photo); June - Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens seen throughout the month at C945336, River Bush; 15 July - Numerous Blue Emperors (photo) at a number of pools around The Raven, Wexford, also seen Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum, and various bluets; 26 July - Leitrim Lodge, Co Down. At least 12 Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens seen (photo); 29 July - A minimum of 7 male and 1 female Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum (photo) at Keenan’s Cross pond, Co Louth, numerous Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum, Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans and Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum. At least one male Blue Emperor Anax imperator at Beaulieu Pond, nr Drogheda

26 and 27 July: Co Dublin, Peter Doyle With the significant rise in temperature, a ‘dragonfly weekend’ was on the cards. On Saturday 26/7, I had 5 Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis, 2 male & 1 female Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea, 3-5 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum and 1 male Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans on a private pond in Dalkey, south east County Dublin. I saw male and female Moorland Hawker twice in tandem. On the second occasion, a rather dramatic observation was noted when a female suddenly appeared in the ovipositing position amongst the pond’s Lily pads and was immediately ‘swept off her feet’ by a fast moving male. They both sailed off attached, high into the surrounding trees. On Sunday 27/7, I visited Knock Lake in north County Dublin: 9 male Blue Emperor Anax imperator were noted holding territories; 4 on the east side, 3 on the west side and 2 on the smaller adjacent pond. The only other Anisopteran species observed were 5-10 Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum. No Common Darter were seen although they must have been present. Quite a few ‘blue’ and Blue tailed Damsels also noted. It is an intriguing site with no Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis, Black tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum or Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope observed on this visit although all three species were easily seen here in 2005 and 2006.

22 July: Killevy Castle, Co Armagh, Ian Rippey I saw a female Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens this afternoon among the flushes above Killevy Castle. Weather was dull but reasonably warm (c. 20 deg. C.) and this was the only Odonate seen. The flushes had little open water compared with other years although seemed damp enough when one stood in them.

21 July: Peatlands Park area, Co Armagh, Ian Rippey I saw up to 3 Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea in grassy fields at Derrylee, just west of Annagarriff Wood, Peatlands Park this afternoon. Also seen in the Park were a 4 Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, 2 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum and a probable Black Darter Sympetrum danae. Weather though cloudy was warmish and muggy (temperature c. 20 deg. C.).

19 July: Birdwatch Ireland Blackditch nature reserve, County Wicklow, Peter Doyle Even allowing for blustery North West winds, there were a few warm patches when the sun shone through and I had two male Blue Emperor Anax imperator, 1 male Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense (my latest date ever for the species), 15+ Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, 25+ Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum, 1 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula and a ‘few’ Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum and Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans.

12 July: Glengariff Forest Nature Reserve, Co Cork, David Nixon Was in the west of Ireland over the weekend and on 12th July I paid a short visit to Glengariff Forest Nature Reserve. Initially the morning was dull but when the sun eventually appeared, I saw at least 10 Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo, 5 males & 5 females, around the wooden bridge over the river at the car-park.

14 July: Tacumshin Lake, Co. Wexford, Niall T. Keogh & Noel Keogh At the East End Pond (T066064), a male Blue Emperor Anax imperator plus several Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum, Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum, Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum, Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum, Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella and Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans were seen within a space of 10 minutes. The Emperor caught and devoured a male darter sp.!!!

13 July: Craigavon Lakes, Co Armagh, and Black Lough, Co Down, Brian Nelson Two days of sunshine!! However its hardly warm and the persistently strong breezes are annoying. Many freshly emerged Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum were in evidence at Craigavon Lakes in the morning. No dragonflies were seen and it doesnt feel like a year for Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope at this site. In the afternoon at Black Lough a few Black Darter Sympetrum danae, some Common Spreadwing/Emerald Damselflies Lestes sponsa and single Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans and Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum were seen. Many early stage larvae of Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea were seen with one exuvia, but no sign of any adults. Depsite the sunshine, all the odonates were perched.

12 July: Moyrourkan Lough, Co Armagh, Brian Nelson At last some sunshine! At least four Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis, several Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, one Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum and a few Common Spreadwing/Emerald Damselflies Lestes sponsa seen in the afternnon

7 July: Peatlands Park, Co Armagh. Ian Rippey I saw 2 immature female Black Darter Sympetrum danae beside the pond near the entrance to Peatlands Park. There were also 2 Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum, 1 or 2 Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellums and 3 Common Spreadwing/Emerald Damselflies Lestes sponsa. Although I covered a fair area of the park hoping also to see Moorland/Common Hawker Aeshna juncea, I was out of luck, although the weather was mainly cloudy and rather cool (c. 15 deg. C.).

6 July: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford, Niall T. Keogh & Noel Keogh The numbers of darters at Lingstown (T038073) have built up to about 200. These were flushed from the hedges and wet grassland bordering the reedbed. The majority identified were Common Darters Sympetrum striolatum, and nearly all were immature/female types, with one mature male Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum seen. Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella, Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum and Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans also present.

4 July: Co Antrim, David Nixon There were single Brown Hawkers Aeshna grandis at both Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve and the Broadwater Canal, both near Aghalee.

30 June: Montiaghs Moss, Co Antrim, Oscar Campbell One Crescent Bluet/Irish Damselfly Coenagrion lunulatum . I also saw some 60 Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum, many in tandem, plus 20 Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, 1 Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis, 2 Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense and 1 Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans

29 June : Tacumshin, Co. Wexford, Niall T. Keogh and Noel Keogh Warm but windy today so searching for odonates was restricted to sheltered areas. At Paradise Quarry Pond (T062083) 6 Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata were patrolling a small corner of the pond with a copulating pair seen here also. Azure Damselflies Coenagrion puella and Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselflies Ischnura elegans were sheltering in the grass. Along Lingstown Lane (T038073), 50+ Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum and a single Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum were seen on the leeward side of the hedges. All seemed to be immature types except for a single mature male Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum. Two Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense and plenty of Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella, Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum and Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans also present.

29 June: Co Armagh, Ian Rippey I saw a male and female Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum at Brackagh Bog today, along with 1 Common Darter S. striolatum, a number of Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, 1 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula, 2 mating pairs of Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans and at least a few each of Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella and Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum. At Craigavon Lakes later there were a few Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum.

28 June: Killoughter, Co. Wicklow, Niall T. Keogh A male Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense immature male Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum and quite a few Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans were sheltering in the dunes.

23 June: Peatlands Park and Brackagh Bog, Co Armagh, Ian Rippey I saw about 6 immature Common Spreadwing/Emerald Damselflies Lestes sponsa beside the lake close to the entrance at Peatlands Park. Also seen were 4 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula including a mating pair, several Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum and Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum. Another Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata was seen at the pond in the waste water treatment area near the Centre, and also a small squat exuvia which I presume was this species (I have it in a container); there were also 4 Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans.

At Brackagh Bog there was 1 Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis (my first this year), c. 6 Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans and 20+ Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum; several darter dragonflies were seen, 2 were caught and found to be Common Darter S. striolatum

9 to 15 June: Clare and Kerry, Ian Rippey I was in the west of Ireland during this, mostly in the Burren and Killarney, though also recorded Odonata in Roscommon and Limerick. Edited summary of what was seen.

Downy Emerald Cordulia aenea One at the SE end of the unnamed lake near Ladys View, Killarney (V904804), on 14th June. Only brief views were had mainly because every time it appeared it was usually buzzed by 2 or 3 Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata.

Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum: South-east Galway: 1 female on 10th June on limestone pavement at Normangrove near Kinvarra (M357044). Clare: 1 female at Derreenatloghtan near Boston (M2701) on 10th June). About 20 or more seen on 10th June in a walk from Aughrim (R364957) to Loughs Cooloorta and Travaun at R354964. Although most were around rocks or near the marly shore of these 2 limestone lakes, there were several along the path or near adjacent woodland. About 6 on 10th June at Rockforest Lake (R3569055) which is more muddy/rocky than marly. c. 6-8 at Ballyeighter Wood (R3493) on 10th June. 6-8 around Rinnamona, Kilnaboy (R298943) on 15th June. 8-10 including a mating pair around Lough Skeardeen and the stream which runs from it to Kilmacduagh (R3899/R3999) on 15th June.

Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum Clare: Although I was in the Burren on 3 days, I was mostly in dry habitats, but still it was disappointing to see only 1, in the marsh at Ballyvelaghan Lake (M277113) on 15th June. I only covered the SW part of the marsh near the road junction and it was quite early (c.9 am) and with a temperature around 12 deg. C., so conditions were not ideal.

Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo Kerry: c. 10 near Galways River (8 around V9179 and 2 around V9180) on 13th June. 1 near stream close to Lord Brandons Cottage, Upper Lake, Killarney (V884812) on 14th June.

Robust Spreadwing/Scare Emerald Damselfly Lestes dryas Clare: About 8 (1 male, rest apparently female) in the marsh at Ballyvelaghan Lake, Burren (M277113) on 15th June.

Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens Kerry: 1 female in a field beside the Roughty River c. 1 mile east north-east of Kilgarvan between Kenmare and Killarney (W026735) on 12th June. 1 in boggy ground with Molinia, etc, near Galways River at about V923798 on 13th June. 2-3 around boggy ground near Ladies View, Killarney (c. V904807) on 14th June.

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens Clare: About 15-20, mostly males but at least 1 female, at Kilcorkan near Boston (R3999) on 15th June, mainly along a clear limestone spring running between Lough Skeardeen and Kilmacduagh (latter in Co. Galway).

10th June: Tacumshin Lake, Co. Wexford, Niall T. Keogh

Arriving at Tacumshin mid-morning for a three day camping trip I was expecting to have my first proper 'Dragonfly Day' of the year with the weather being so warm and sunny. Although birds were the main agenda, catching up with Emperor was also on my mind!! After watching the Forster's Tern which was present hunting over the East End Pond, I turned my attention to a corner of the pond which I know to be good for Odonata. In an area of rushes, phragmites and small stands of open water I quickly notched up Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum, Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella and Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans for the year-list. Dozens of the damselflies were flushed out of the grass and rushes, with tenerals and mating pairs of Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans observed. Roughly half a dozen Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata were seen defending the small pools and a similar number of Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense were noted doing the same. A few teneral darters were flushed out of the grassy banks alongside Sigginstown Island, with any of those identified proving to be Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum. A female Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense was caught here during the evening. The 'Forgotten Corner' provided a mature male Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum flushed off a sandy shore in exactly the same spot where I saw one in 2006.

Whilst walking around the area between 'The Patches' and Lingstown at the west end of the lake, lots of blue damselflies were seen in the sedges, any identified turned out to be Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum . Several teneral darters were also seen here in flight. These had the look of Common Darter about them but this could not be confirmed. Recently a scrape has been created out at Lingstown, presumably by local hunters to attract wildfowl. At the moment it is still very shallow and sandy bottomed with sparse emergent vegetation, however it has already drawn in quite a few dragonflies. Almost immediately I saw a fine male Blue Emperor Anax imperator patrolling the shoreline with another present further down the scrape. 8+ Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata and a male Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense were also present. A red coloured darter seen in flight through binoculars suggested Ruddy Darter on shape, but when viewed through the telescope when it landed, a curious red sheen was noted to the base of the wings. The insect was in horrible light, but with a little patience and careful repositioning I was able to stalk the darter down to a few meters with the sun at my back. Fantastic views at upto 60x magnification confirmed that it was indeed a brilliant male Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii!!! A new species for me. It flew off on feeding sorties from a regular perch and was watched for about half an hour up until I lost it after it chased after yet another mature male Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum!

8 June: Co. Wexford, Niall & Noel Keogh On Great Saltee Island, at least 3 mature male Hairy Hawkers Brachytron pratense were hunting around the garden. Another mature male Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense was caught (using my hat!) at the East End Pond, Tacumshin Lake in the evening.

7 June: Enniskillen, Hannah and Robert Northridge (via Ian Rippey)I have just come in from the garden where I watched ( for about 3 minutes) a Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis hawking up and down by the bushes. It was quite close at times ( 2 metres) and I saw its brown wings clearly against the sky. Hannah also saw it. I know it is very early in the season.

3 June: Co Armagh and Down, Ian Rippey There were at least 6 immature Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens (male and female identified) at Leitrim and 2 (male and female identified) at Bloody Bridge; 4 of the 6 at Leitrim were away from the main area (either side of the track which leads to a gate at the edge of the forest at the southern end). 1 or 2 Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata and Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula also seen at Leitrim. At Leitrim most of the flushes were dry (I have never seen so little water) though 1 or 2 at the southern end had some water. Of course this merely reflects the lack of rainfall, accompanied by warm weather and sunshine, in May. Bloody Bridge, relatively speaking, was not so bad (the visit there was made about 6 pm). I think this is the earliest I have ever seen the Keeled Skimmer, but I suspect a visit at the end of May would have turned up at least 1 or 2. Earlier on 3rd I visited Peatlands Park and (as at Leitrim, and yesterday at Navan Quarry) looked for Small Bluetail/Scarce Blue-tailed Ischnura pumilio in shallow pools, without success; there were some Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata and Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula, one Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum

3 June: Lough McCall and Cloghcor Lough, Co Tyrone, Brian Nelson and Maria Hughes Visits to these small lakes near Clogher produced large numbers (70-100) of Crescent/Irish Bluet Coenagrion lunulatum at both sites. These lakes lie within a kilometre of each other and are also close to Cullentra Lough, (where the population is even larger). It appears to be the key area for this species in N. Ireland. All other lake/pond species seen at both sites.

1 June Co Fermanagh and 2 June Co Armagh, Ian Rippey Sunday 1st June was very warm and mainly sunny (though with some thin high cloud) and little wind, in West Fermanagh, until some rain with accompanying (distant) thunder in late afternoon curtailed activities. As I was visiting limestone hills in the main, Odonata were not the main focus of observation, but I did see the following:

Small Bluetail/Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura pumilio: About 3 mating pairs, 1 or 2 female aurantiaca) and about 6 males, varying from teneral to fairly mature, in pools at Tonnagh Quarry near Derrygonnelly. Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans: 1 at Tonnagh Quarry near Derrygonnelly. Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum: 1 female on roadside at Kinarla near Enniskillen. 2 or 3 males at Meenameen Lough in Lough Navar Forest. Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula: 2 or 3 at Callow near Derrygonnelly. 1 at Tonnagh Quarry near Derrygonnelly. Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata: 1 or 2 at Callow near Derrygonnelly. 8-10 including mating pairs and ovipositing female(s) at Tonnagh Quarry near Derrygonnelly. Perhaps surprisingly, no Hairy Dragonflies were seen.

On 2nd June I visited Drumnahavil Bog (briefly) near Keady in Co. Armagh and also Navan Quarry near Armagh and made the following observations:

Crescent/Irish Bluet Coenagrion lunulatum: c. 20 males and 2-3 mating pairs seen. Common Bluetail Ischnura elegans: c. 4 at Navan Quarry. Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella: 1 male at Navan Quarry. Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum: A few noted at Drumnahavil Bog and Navan Quarry. Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula: 1 on Co. Armagh side and 1 on Co. Monaghan side of Drumnhavil Bog, and 2 at Navan Quarry. Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata: Several at Drumnahavil Bog and Navan Quarry. Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense: 1 male at Navan Quarry; I saw 1 a few hundred yards some days ago.

2 June: Cronykeery, Co Wicklow, Angus Tyner First adult Blue Emperor Anax imperator patrolling my lake. An exuvia of this species was found on 26th May. As usual, I don't see many emerging despite the large amounts of ovipositing and nymphs seen. The resident Swans eat all the vegetation and the Little Grebes have an easy time catching their prey that have no cover. Also seen today are about 30 Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, c10 Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense (very difficult to get accurate count), countless Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum, Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella and Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans and couple Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula. I looked for Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineumand Common Spreadwing/Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa, no adults seen. I found fairly mature larvae and I anticipate emergence in about a week. Also plenty of small "Hawker" larvae that are not Blue Emperor Anax imperator. I presume these are Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta.

Older news, first Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella and Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans were seen on 6th May. By this date emergence of Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum was in the 100s. A number of exuvia of Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense were found, the first on 12th May. Some that emerged are confirmed as one year cycle as the pond in question usually drys out during late summer, but not last year during the wet summer! A mature Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum was also seen on the 12th May.

The Dublin Naturalists Field Club had an outing to my garden on 24th May. 6 odonata species were seen inc first Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata which was found before taking its maiden flight having emerged from my lake.

1 June : Killoughter, Co. Wicklow, Niall Keogh : 2 or 3 Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense seen along the railway track between the sand dunes and coastal marshes.

31 May: Drumnahavil Bog, Co Armagh (H812287), Ian Rippey I saw a female (from the blunt tip to the abdomen) Sympetrum species here. As far as I could see, the legs were all dark with no noticeable yellow, and there appeared to be a patch of yellow near the base of the wing; it also had the cleaner yellow look of the Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum rather than Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum. I started to stalk it but unfortunately it took off and flew high in the air and out of sight (weather was very warm and bright, probably 22 deg. C. or more, although it lies at an altitude of over 500 feet). Although all 3 resident Darters (Sympetrum spp.) occur at the site, I have only seen a single Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum there previously (about 1991 I think); Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum is common with Black Darter Sympetrum danae frequent, though neither occur in large numbers (though the site has recorded 14 Odonata species). However due to enrichment, pools are becoming filled in with Horsetails, etc, and this may actually create more suitable habitat for Ruddy Darter. On the whole, while not being quite certain, I am inclined to go for Ruddy Darter rather than Common Darter. Although no Crescent/Irish Bluet Coenagrion lunulatum were seen around the small pools, they were very numerous along the west end of a very large pool near a minor road a few hundred yards to the west; 3 mating pairs and about 30 males were seen. Altogether on the bog I saw 2 or 3 Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense, 2 or 3 Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, 1 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula and several Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum. Earlier at nearby Straghans Lake there were 3 or 4 Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense and Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, c. 8 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula and Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum, and a single Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum.

30 May: Lagan towpath, Lisburn, Co Antrim, David Nixon 13 Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens seen (10M, 3F). Most were in the Moores Bridge to Iron Bridge area. Approx 12 Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella and 1 or 2 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula also seen.

27 May: Barnland, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Michael O’Donnell I counted an additional 16 Blue Emperor Anax imperator emerging this afternoon. Most of these were still present when I checked this morning, 28th. This makes a total of at least 32 as I’m sure I missed several during the week.

26 May: Summerhill and Kilroosky Loughs, Fermanagh and Monaghan, Brian Nelson Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense, Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata and Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum present in very good numbers at both sites. Lots of activity including a male Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense catching a male Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum in flight

24 May: Barnland, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Michael O’Donnell Blue Emperor Anax imperator exuviae have now reached at least 16. Also present were one Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans and an ovipositing pair of Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula.

24 May: Upper Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh, Brian and Shirley Nelson Many Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense seen at Galloon Island and in the Crom Estate along with the usual damselflies and Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata

22 May: Barnland, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Michael O’Donnell I counted 10 Blue Emperor Anax imperator exuviae this evening. There were 2 freshly emerged adults still clinging to their exuvia, a male and female.

21 May: River Bann, Armagh/Down, Ian Rippey I saw my first Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens of 2008 along the River Bann between Dynes Bridge (c. 3 miles south of Portadown) and White Bridge near Gilford, Co. Down, this afternoon, a mature male. This is very close to the border between Armagh and Down and it is impossible to be absolutely sure which county it was in, although looking at the 1:50000 map on the whole I would be inclined to go for Co. Down (it does occur in both counties at this site). This is I think the earliest I have ever seen the species although I have seen it frequently in the last few days of May. It is also 5 days earlier than the earliest date (26th May 1990 and 1991) given for this species in the Dragonfly Ireland book, although I have not looked at dates for 2004-2007 on the Irish dragonfly websites.

A couple of miles away at Brackagh Bog near Portadown, there were about 4 or 5 Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense (most or all males), with 2 Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans, about 8-10 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula, 25-30 Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, and dozens of bluets Coenagrion of which 1 or 2 were identified as Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella.

18 May: Sheskinmore Lough, Co Donegal, Robert Northridge 2 very early Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum

18 May: Barnland, Gorey, Co. Wexford T145638 Michael O’Donnell & Janet Whelehan Had the first Blue Emperor Anax imperator of the year emerging from the garden pond. I would expect several more over the next while. We counted seven exuviae last year. The only other species seen in the garden this year is Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula, the first of which was on 27th April.

16-18 May: Various sites in Co Fermanagh and Antrim, Ian Rippey During the last few days I have recorded 3 new Odonata species for the first time in 2008 in Northern Ireland; Small Bluetail/Scarce Blue-tailed Ischnura pumilio: 2 immature males at Tonnagh Quarry near Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh, on 16th May. Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata: Very numerous at Montiaghs Moss NNR, Co. Antrim, on 18th May, including ovipositing females. Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella: There were quite a few Coenagrion sp. at the Lagan Canal at Broadwater near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, on 18th May; I suspect all were Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella; 2 males and a female were identified. I also saw a Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense beside a wood west of Bunnahone Lake near Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh, on 16th May; on 17th May there were 2 mating pairs, a female and about 4-6 males at Montiaghs NNR, and 2 males in a field near Broadwater, both near Aghalee, Co. Antrim. The latter may be a new site.

16 May: Adare, Co Limerick, Geoff Hunt and St Nicholas National School Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense, Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella, Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum, Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum and Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula

16 May: Cullentra Lough, Co Tyrone, Brian Nelson Several Crescent/Irish Bluet Coenagrion lunulatum males and females on a fleeting visit.

15 May: Lough Gur, Co Limerick, Geoff Hunt Today with Hospital National School the following were seen. Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense, Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula, Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans, Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum and Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella.

15 May: Lough Napaste C212301, Co Donegal, Brian Nelson Several Crescent/Irish Bluet Coenagrion lunulatum. This is a new site and new 10km square for species. Other Donegal site Ballyboe Lough is 600m or so SE of this lake. Also present were Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula, Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum and Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans.

15 May: Eelburn Loughs Napaste C192440, Co Donegal, Brian Nelson A female Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense at its northern limit in Ireland; also Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum, Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans and Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula

14 May: Co Armagh, Ian Rippey There were about 15 Common Bluetail/Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans at one of the lakes at Carnagh Wood along with at least half a dozen Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum and a male Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense; the latter is I think new to the site. At nearby Straghans Lake, there were several Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum and about a dozen Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula, but no Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum were seen at either site.

12 May: Tannaghmore Gardens, Craigavon Lakes, Co. Armagh, Ian Rippey 2 Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum

12 May: Navan Quarry/Loughnashade, Co. Armagh, Ian Rippey 1 teneral male Variable Damselfly/Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum. Also seen was a male Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense which is a new species for the site and brings the total to 13 species. Several Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula were also seen.

10 May: Castle Houston near Askeaton, Co Limerick, R34, Geoff Hunt. My first for the year of Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum and Azure Bluet Coenagrion puella.

11th May: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford, Niall Keogh Casual observations while birding produced up to 20 Large Red Damsels Pyrrhosoma nymphula flushed along Lingstown Lane.

8 May: Rehaghy, Co Tyrone, Ian Rippey 4-6 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula and 7 May: Glenmore, Ballygawley, Co Tyrone, Ian Rippey 4 Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula

7 May: Crom Estate, Co Fermanagh, Geoff Campbell More Large Red Damsels Pyrrhosoma nymphula at Crom Estate and a single Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense (see photograph).

7 May: Montiaghs Moss, Co Antrim, Geoff Campbell A brief visit to produced more Large Red Damsels Pyrrhosoma nymphula and a few Variable Bluets Coenagrion pulchellum.

5 May: Seaforde/Bohill area Co Down, Geoff Campbell A few odonata about over the past week including a couple of Large Red Damsels Pyrrhosoma nymphula in the Seaforde/Bohill areas on Monday 5th May.

4 May: Cronykeery Co Wicklow, Angus Tyner At last season starts? Despite the relatively cool March and April, I've been keeping a look out for past 10 days for emerging damselflies. None seen until today, my latest first sighting. 7 tenerals were seen, and the 5 identified were Common Bluet Enallagma cyathigerum, 4f, single male. The weather turned warm yesterday (3rd) with a sunny 18C. After a mild night and damp start to today, the sky cleared and the temperature quickly rose from 12C to 18C and peaked above 20C, the earliest in year I’ve recorded 20C since commencing temperature recording 9 years ago. I anticipate seeing Common Blue-tail Ischnura elegans and Variable Bluet Coenagrion pulchellum during the coming week.

3 May: north Co Armagh, Ian Rippey This afternoon I saw a Large Red Damsel Pyrrhosoma nymphula at Peatlands Park (H8961), and about 8 at Selshion Bog (H9854), both near Portadown. These are the first Odonata I have seen or heard about in Northern Ireland this year.

27 and 29 April: Riverstown, Co Louth, Enda Flynn Adult Large Red Damsels Pyrrhosoma nymphula seen at Riverstown in the Cooley Peninsula (J178066).