Spotting Damselflies and Dragonflies at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve
Some species such as Scarce Chaser and Southern Hawker are quite rare on the reserve so have only been spotted in very low numbers. Though you never know, you might be lucky!
Damselflies and dragonflies are amongst the most spectacular and charismatic insects found anywhere in the world. If you walk through the reserve on a warm, sunny day between June and September you are almost certain to see damselflies and/or dragonflies, even if you are not particularly looking for them. Dragonflies and Damselflies are wild creatures so nothing is guaranteed but can potentially turn up anywhere, so keep your eyes open.
Here are a few steps you can take to increase your chance of seeing these beautiful creatures.
Damselfly and Dragonfly Spotting Tips
Choose a warm, still, sunny day when the air temperature is above 16 degrees C.
Most damselflies and dragonflies are not early risers, so look out for them between approximately 10:30 and 17:00 when they are most active.
Different species emerge at different times of year, which means the season extends from May to October with a peak around July.
Some dragonflies ‘patrol’ up and down their territory. It’s worth standing for a few moments and watching a section of rhyne to see if anything flies past, or even lands.
We tend to associate these insects with water and, of course, they need a watery environment to breed. Some species will happily move to areas away from water to look for insect prey amongst trees and bushes. Some species will even migrate many miles. Keep an eye out as you pass the South Pools hide and along the Seasonal Track.
Females of many species only visit the pools and rhynes to find a mate and to deposit their eggs. The remainder of the time they tend to keep a low profile and are difficult to spot. As they tend to be less brightly coloured they merge very well into the background.
Damselflies, though much smaller than dragonflies, are easier to spot as they thrive in vegetation along the reserve’s paths. There is a good chance of seeing three different species of damselfly in close proximity. Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies can share the same patch of vegetation.
We hope you have fun looking for these amazing creatures.
After a very quiet start to the season, last week’s survey of PWNR turned out to be one of our best. Some surprises included a Red-veined Darter (well done Dave) on the North Pools. It’s an uncommon species… Read More
Today’s dragonfly survey turned up lots of interesting damsels and dragons busy making next year’s generation. We also spotted a Red-veined Darter on the South Pools. It’s an uncommon species that comes across here from Europe. This seems to be a good year for them. … See MoreSee Less
Come and say hello to us at the Portishead Raft Race this Sunday. We will have our popular nature table plus a "match the song to the bird" game. This is a great way to learn to identify bird song. You can also pick up a copy of our new map leaflet . . . hot off the press. The printing costs were very kindly donated by the Portishead Raft Race 2019 … See MoreSee Less
The first Dragonfly survey of the year was done on the reserve on Thursday. Quite a few Damselflies about, but not many dragons yet! Oh, and one strange looking Shield Bug! (possibly Verlusea rhombea). The Dragonfly is a Broad-bodied Chaser, the Damselflies are a Blue-tailed and an Azure. … See MoreSee Less
This was the amazing sunrise that greeted me as I walked by the nature reserve. A flight of Canada Geese completed the picture.
There was a roebuck snoozing in the North Pool field while out on the salt marsh several curlews, many shelducks, a number of teal, a pair of oystercatchers, a duo of gadwalls and a common sandpiper was the icing on the cake.