Irish Odonata sightings during April & May 2005
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2005 Archives - June July
May 31st Antrim/ Down Ian Rippey
On a reasonably good (alternatively bright and cloudy) afternoon at Montiaghs Bog NNR, Co. Antrim, today (31st May) I saw up to 5 male Irish Damselfly Coenagrion lunulatum. 4 of these were seen flying together over a large pool and another was in an area of rough Purple Moorgrass and scrub, where I had seen a male (along with another male and a female elsewhere on the bog) on 26th May.

 Also seen was a male Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense, several Large Red Damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula, about a dozen Four spotted Chasers Libellula quadrimaculata, and about 30 Variable Damselflies Coenagrion pulchellum of both sexes (there could have been an odd Azure damselfly among these).  

I also looked for the Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens on the River Bann at Dynes Bridge south of Portadown, but without success, perhaps due to the high water level retarding emergence, or it may have been too late in the day (c. 6.30 pm).  

David Nixon also reported 4 Large Red Damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula at Aughnadarragh Lake near Saintfield, Co. Down, on 31st

May 27th Wicklow Angus Tyner
Another larvae hunt yesterday (26th) in lake and bog proved very fruitful. Found Emperor Anax imperator and Four-spot Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata larva ready to emerge. In the bog I finally found Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa larvae. 3 amongst the dozens of Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum larvae. No adult dragonflies seen despite it being sunny and warmest day of year (20.4C).
May 27th Antrim & Kerry Brian Nelson
Independently from Ian I also saw 2 Irish bluets Coenagrion lunulatum at the Montiaghs yesterday. Mine were flying over pools in typical fashion perching on Potmaogeton leaves. There were in my opinion mature showing green on the underside. Other species as per Ian.

Some earlier news at least 15 freshly emerged Four spotted Chasers Libellula quadrimaculata at Lough Beg, Killarney National Park on 14th May and 1 exuvia of Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense at Lough Doo, Killarney National Park on 15th May.

May 26th Antrim Ian Rippey
After several unsuccessful searches in previous days, I finally saw the Irish Damselfly Coenagrion lunulatum for the first time this year, at Montiaghs Bog NNR near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, today (26th), the weather being as warm as it has been this month (probably c. 18 deg, C.) and reasonably bright, though also rather breezy. Perhaps this was the reason why all the Irish damselflies (2 males and a female, each being seen in separate parts of the bog separated by roads, though all within 100 yards) and indeed most of the other Odonata seen, were all in areas shelterd to some extent by the wind. I examined both large and small pools where at times this and other species can be abundant but saw virtually no Odonata there, perhaps because of the wind, or because the specimens were still sexually immature. The Irish Damselfly specimens were reasonably blue in colour but probably not quite fully mature).  

Also seen were 1 or 2 male Hairy Hawkers Brachytron pratense and Large Red Damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula but there were probably about 20 Variable Damselflies Coenagrion pulchellum and Four-spot Chasers Libellula quadrimaculata.

May 23rd Donegal Terry Tedstone
My first sightings this year were 3 or 4 Large Red Pyrrhosoma nymphula near Inch Lake on 14th May and another in my garden in Buncrana on 21st May. Also on 21st May, Four Spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata at edge of forestry on bogland about 2k south of nearest breeding site known to me - Loughanvrickanbrack (C4636). It was hunting low over moor - I saw another or maybe same one hunting high up at edge of forestry
May 22nd Wicklow Angus Tyner
With the continuing poor weather, I went on a larvae hunt. Found 13 Emperor Anax imperator, a single Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense, and what I assume are Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum. None of the emperor will emerge this year, though I found some last year that I thought would emerge this year. The Hairy Dragonfly looks to be ready to emerge. Had a look in my bog which dries up in Late Summer and found huge numbers of what I assume are Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum, some that seem to be in final larvae stage, judging by the wing sheaths. No Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa larvae were found. Perhaps it's still a little early. Huge numbers of Diving Beetle larvae and a juvenile newt were also seen.
May 22nd Wexford Niall Keogh
Tacumshin Lake : 8 Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella and a single Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans at the "High Car Park".

Paradise Quarry Pond : A single female Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense ovipositing into some floating vegitation detritus at the waters edge. 7 immature Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans and 5 immature Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella present also.

May 21st Tyrone/Derry Ian Rippey
I was surprised to see a mature coloured male Hairy Dragonfly (or Hairy/Spring Hawker) Brachytron pratense resting briefly in heather close to a smallish pool covered with sphagnum moss on a small area of cut-over bog at Drumconvis near Coagh, East Tyrone, Northern Ireland (Grid Reference H9178), late in the afternoon of 21st May. The weather was bright and reasonably warm though somewhat breezy 9and this weather had prevailed throughout the day with expected showers not materialising). After taking a few seconds of camcorder footage the dragonfly flew off strongly. This is my 1st sighting of the species in 2005, as I had failed to see it at Montiaghs NNR, Co. Antrim, on 16th May, though David Nixon had seen 3 there (including 2 in tandem) on 13th May.

The pool (which was more or less the only open water on the bog) did not look suitable for breeding and I suspect the dragonfly was a stray from elsewhere. The habitat is an old cut-over bog with lanky heather and birch scrub, with a large area adjacent planted with Pines and decidous trees.  

The nearest probably breeding place may be disused gravel pits at Traad Point on Lough Neagh near Ballyronan, Co. Londonderry, about 6-7 miles away, though it might possibly breed in a marsh at Blackers Rock on the Lough Neagh shore of Co. Tyrone, about 4 miles to the south-east.  

As far as I am aware, the Hairy Dragonfly has been found in Co. Tyrone only in the so-called "Clogher valley" area, at several lakes near Fivemiletown/Clogher and 1 cut-over bog near Clogher. There are a number of suitable-looking lakes in the Dungannon-Aughnacloy areas which also look suitable, but so far searches have proved negative. It however may be overlooked due to its early and fairly short flight season and generally low numbers, and possible confusion with Common Hawker.  

Also seen on 21st May were 2 Four-spotted Chasers Libellula quadrimaculata on a bog at Lough Bran near Maghera, Co. Londonderry, and Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula, which was seen in small numbers at Lough Bran and nearby Drumlamph Wood, at Curran and Ballynahone Bogs near Maghera (latter by David Nixon) with at least 1 also at the bog at Ballinderry Bridge.

May 20th Wicklow Angus Tyner
Saw my first Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense today with at least 2 males seen in my bog (historical field name) . The swans are doing a great job in keeping the bulrushes (reedmace Typha latifolia) down and leaving it more open for the dragonflies. Also seen are my 3 residence 'blues' Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies.
May 18th Tipperary Eddie Foyle
On 4th May I found three Large Red Damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula at Kildanogue Game Sanctuary   The day was cold but bright. 
May 18th Kildare Peter Doyle
I had 4+ Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense, 3 Four Spotted Chasers, 2 Blue Tailed, 6+ Variable and 3 Large Red Damselfly at Ballinafagh Lake bog in County Kildare on Sunday 15/5
May 16th various per Ian Rippey
Hairy Hawker
Brachytron pratense: 3 ("including 2 in tandem, then super views of both male and female separately"), seen by David Nixon at Montiaghs Bog NNR near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, on 13th May.
Large Red Damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula: 8-10 seen by me at Frosses Bog near Ballymena, Co. Antrim, on 12th May. c. 30 seen by David Nixon at Montiaghs Bog NNR near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, on 13th May, and 6 seen by him at Bohill Forest NNR near Ballynahinch, Co. Down, on 15th May.
Variable Damselfly Coenagrion pulchellum: 2 seen by David Nixon at Montiaghs Bog NNR near Aghalee, Co. Antrim, on 13th May.

Hairy Hawker
Brachytron pratense: 11th May at Mount Bellew Demesne, NE Galway, & Finnamore Lakes near Lough Boora Peatlands, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, on 14th May (both by Ken Bond). 4+ 6 at Aughinish near Askeaton, Co. Limerick, on 15th May (Geoffrey Hunt). 4+ Hairy Hawkers at Ballynafagh Lake, Co. Kildare, Republic of Ireland, on May 15th.(Peter Doyle)
Four-spotted Chaser
Libellula quadrimaculata : 3 at Ballynafagh Lake, Co. Kildare, on 15th May (Peter Doyle).
Large Red Damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula
: 5 at Bealagrellagh, near Tralee Co. Kerry, on 10th May, 5 at Mount Bellew Demesne, NE Galway, on 11th May, Aghalustia Bridge (?E. Mayo/Roscommon, M627927), on 12th May, and at Finnamore Lakes near Lough Boora Peatlands, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, on 14th May (all by Ken Bond). At Ballynafagh Lake, Co. Kildare, on 15th May (Peter Doyle). At Aughinish near Askeaton, Co. Limerick, on 15th May (Geoffrey Hunt).
Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans: 3 at Mount Bellew Demesne, NE Galway, on 11th May (Ken Bond). At Ballynafagh Lake, Co. Kildare, on 15th May (Peter Doyle). At Aughinish near Askeaton, Co. Limerick, on 15th May (Geoffrey Hunt).
Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum: Many at Finnamore Lakes near Lough Boora Peatlands, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, on 14th May (Ken Bond).

Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella: 3 at Mount Bellew Demesne, NE Galway, on 11th May (Ken Bond). At Aughinish near Askeaton, Co. Limerick, on 15th May (Geoffrey Hunt).
Variable Damselfly Coenagrion pulchellum
: At Ballynafagh Lake, Co. Kildare, on 15th May (Peter Doyle).
This makes 7 Odonata species recorded in Ireland this year (Large Red, Common Blue, Blue-tailed, Azure and Variable Damselflies; Hairy Hawker and Four-spotted Chaser). However in most Mays, Banded Damselfly, Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly and Irish Damselfly would also be expected, possibly also Black-tailed Skimmer). June usually sees a big increase in variety with nearly all species seen by the end of the month if looked for, though Migrant Hawker would hardly be expected until late July, and Black Darter may also not appear until early July.

May 15th Wicklow Angus Tyner
This morning was first real mass emergence. In fact it started in the sunshine on Saturday afternoon. It was cool overnight but in the light breeze the temperature rose quickly with the early morning sunshine. I walked around my lake at 9am and there were large numbers of tenerals leaving. Must have seen at least 50, but many more at various stages of emergence, as many as 3 on a single rush stem. I netted at least 30 and all but 4 were female Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella! The other 4 were 2 male Azure and 2 female Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum. I can only assume that the emergence Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans and Common Blue Damselfly is slightly later in morning as I have plenty emerging of both species. There are mature specimens of the 3 species at water now, but I haven't observed any mating or ovipositing activity yet, but this could be due to not being around my lake during middle of day.
May 15th Wexford Tom Shevlin
Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense at Ring Marsh in south Wexford on Sun May 15th
May 14th Limerick/Tipperary per Ian Rippey
Brian Hodkinson reports a Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata  at Annaholty (Co. Limerick/Tipperary) on 14th May; I saw several at Peatlands Park, North Armagh, on 11th May.
May 12th Antrim Ian Rippey
1 day after seeing my 1st Large Red Damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula of 2005 in Northern Ireland (c. 10 at Peatlands Park in Co. Armagh) there were about 6 on Frosses Bog between Ballymena and Ballymoney. Mid-Antrim, on 12th May, though no 4-spot Chasers were seen there.
May 11th Armagh Ian Rippey
At Peatlands Park, North Armagh, on 11th (a bright and reasonably warm day though with sunshine rather hazy) there were 3 Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata and up to 10 Large Red Damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula, and a definite teneral female Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella. I also saw a single teneral female Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum at Craigavon Lakes, North Armagh, later the same afternoon. Together with the Variable damselfly seen in Co. Down on 8th May, this makes 5 Odonata species seen in Northern Ireland so far in 2005, though no doubt Hairy Dragonfly has also emerged (also possibly 1 or both Ischnura species).  
May 10th Wicklow Angus Tyner
Spent part of afternoon in East Coast Nature Reserve in Newcastle Co. Wicklow. Saw about 20 mature and 20 teneral Large Red damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula. Thought I may have seen one or 2 other species, but not to be.
May 10th LIMERICK/TIPPERARY per Ian Rippey
"Lots" of Large Red damselflies Pyrrhosoma nymphula at Annaholty Bog near Birdhhill. Co. Tipperary, on 9th May (Brian Hodkinson). This bog is partly in Co. Limerick and partly in Co. Tipperary.   This makes 4 or 5 species recorded so far in Ireland in 2005; it is likely that Calopteryx splendens, Enallagma cyathigerum, Ischnura pumilio, Coenagrion lunulatum, and Libellula quadrimacula would appear before the end of the month, though how soon will depend on weather. For comparison, 13 species have been mentioned so far on the British Dragonfly Society website at,
May 8th Wexford Killian Mullarney
Just a quick note relating to Niall Keogh's report of Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense at the east end of Tacumshin this weekend. I was there on the afternoon of 6th May when, in the company of Dick Coombes I noticed a hawker fly past, and eventually settle in the grass. I didn't get a great look at it (though I do have a few seconds of video) but I assumed it, and several others seen soon afterwards, were Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense. We then noticed that the Whiskered Tern we had been watching, as well as several Little Gulls, were feeding on these hawkers. I probably saw 10 to 15 hawkers in the course of the next ten or fifteen minutes, but the tern and  gulls were devouring them as quickly as we could find them. At one stage the tern made three successful catches in the space of just a minute!   

It was windier and cooler there today and I didn't see any odonata.

May 8th Down Ian Rippey
I saw my first Odonata of 2005 yesterday (7th May) although both specimens were first found (at a small lake marked on the 1:10000 map as "Interlaken Pond" at Monlough near Carryduff, Co. Down) by Julia Nunn of the Ulster Museum and the Belfast Naturalists Field Club (BNFC).  

However for the first time I can remember, the 1st damselfly species I saw was not the Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula. The 1st specimen was very teneral (possibly a female) and I looked at the shape of the posterior facing lobe on the 1st thoracic segment which looked very shallow; I therefore decided it was Coenagrion puella, the Azure Damselfly. A short distance away Julia found another (both were at rest) which was however definitely a more mature and blue male Variable Damselfly Coenagrion pulchellum by the shape of the black wine goblet markings on the 1st abdominal segment. As I believe I have read conflicting evidence about the use of the shape to determine these 2 species I had better refrain from claiming C. puella as a definite specimen, although both often occur together and usually emerge about the same time.  

I did have a look at sheltered areas near the lake as well as emergent vegetation but could find no more damselflies. The weather at the time was bright but with a strong cool NW breeze, following several brief but sometimes heavy showers (even with some hail and thunder) earlier in the day, so conditions were far from ideal.   This is also among the latest dates for seeing my 1st Odonata species in recent years; in 2003 I even saw a Four-spotted Chaser on 17th April in Co. Antrim. Last year my 1st sighting was Pyrrhosoma nymphula in Co. Down on 25th April.

May 7th Wicklow Angus Tyner
First mature damselfly seen at water, this being a male Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans. Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum is the most numerous species emerging, but also seeing Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella and Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans emerging daily as well.
May 7th Wexford Niall Keogh
4 Hairy Hawker Brachytron pratense and 1 Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans at the east end of Tacumshin Lake, Co. Wexford One of the Hairys was caught and eaten by a Whiskered Tern!!!!!!( the tern had apparently been seen doing this on friday evening and all day saturday aswell by other birders, so the final total of Hairy Hawkers was probably much greater ).

As far as I know there is only a single record of pratense in10km sq T00 up to 2003

May 4th Wicklow Angus Tyner
A lot more sunshine and a lot more damselflies emerging. These included my first Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella of the year with both sexes seen. The female being the blue form which is the usual form that I see at my lake. Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum & Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans were also seen, though numbers still in single figures.
May 3rd Wicklow Angus Tyner
Again sunshine in short supply, but during a few minutes of it and just before a torrential downpour, I saw 2 teneral Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans at my lake. No other odonata seen.
May 2nd Wicklow Angus Tyner
A brief bit of sunshine merited a quick look around my lake. A teneral female Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum was seen taking it's maiden flight. I returned to look for exuvia and found a male as well. A 'blue' damselfly exuvia was found on May 1st, but has not been identified but I suspect it is Common Blue Damselfly as well.
April 29th Wexford Angus Tyner
While I was wondering what blues I may have been missing emerging from my home patch, I at least saw a teneral Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula while on a day trip to The John F. Kennedy Arboretum in Co. Wexford. Now here's hoping for some calm sunny weather over weekend so I have chance to log some 'blues'
April 26th & 27th Wicklow Angus Tyner
Single teneral Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula south of my lake. I think it emerged elsewhere and blew in with the strong southerly breeze. Also one seen next day in same sunny sheltered spot. I think likely to be same one
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