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Dragonfly Survey

How Many Damsels and Dragons at PWNR?

We wondered how many different dragonfly and damselfly species make the reserve their home?  We knew from our own experience and sightings by local nature lovers that PWNR supported many species of these wonderful insects, but just how many? So this prompted us to carry out a dragonfly survey at PWNR throughout the 2018 ‘season’. So a small group comprising Iain Macfarlane (PWNR warden), Giles Morris, David Horlick and I set out to answer that question.

The aim of the dragonfly survey at PWNR was to establish:

  • a snapshot of the damselfly and dragonfly species on the reserve
  • when they were on the wing
  • how abundant they were in different locations


2018 The Survey Report


Our results proved that there are at least sixteen species on the reserve.  Though there could well be more that we missed, or future new additions! We know that Banded Demoiselles frequent a nearby rhyne and Brown Hawkers have previously been seen on the reserve.

We believe that PWNR is a special place for damsels and dragons for two reasons. Firstly, the abundance of different species supported by the reserve compares well with other local sites.

 We believe that PWNR is a special place for damsels and dragons 
Secondly, some uncommon species including Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Hairy Dragonfly and Scarce Chaser, which is Red-Listed as ‘Near Threatened’, were included in our tally.

We have submitted our findings to North Somerset Council, local and national biodiversity databases and to the Bristol Naturalists’ Society who have published it in their annual journal.


Published in the Bristol Naturalists’ Society Annual Journal

You can read the 2018 PWNR Damselfly Dragonfly survey report in Nature in Avon (Volume 78, 2018). This excellent journal is produced annually by the Bristol Naturalists’ Society (BNS) to report and publicise projects undertaken by its members. So the report is available by kind permission of the Society.

Here is a link to the full report . . . 2018_PWNR Damselfly Dragonfly Survey Report.

An editorial note was added to the report by a BNS expert (pages 19 & 20). It links the PWNR survey with the considerable and highly informative work carried out by others across our region. So this note adds context to the PWNR report relative to the other extensive studies and adds further understanding of local damselfly and dragonfly populations.


What’s next?

Heartened by our findings, we have planned more survey work for 2019 to demonstrate that PWNR really is an important site for damselflies and dragonflies.

We are fortunate to have such a rich variety of dragonflies, damselflies and other wildlife on our doorstep at PWNR. We should do whatever we can to preserve this precious place.

Michael Brighton

You can see the current species list “so far” at PWNR Dragons and Damsels

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