Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope reports in Ireland in 2005
Back to News Page
I think that Ciarán Williams deserves a big thumbs up and credit for forwarding on his observation at Knock Lake. He admits he's really only a beginner, but he had the courage to forward it on and he is delighted that his observation has been backed up.
13th July Knock Lake Co. Dublin
Ciarán Williams sent news of a very significant observation

2-3 Lesser emperors Anax parthenope reported at Knock lake near Balbriggan in north Co. Dublin. "This is an artificial lake around 7 ha in size with lots of vegetation growth around and within the water."

Grid Ref O191 609

Click for larger image (112kb)
Peter Doyle kindly sent me further information about this site
It’s a small lake off the M50 north. Take a slip road off to Balbriggan and it’s ‘up and down a few lanes’. I’m familiar with the area but describing it is rather difficult. It’s basically a private fishing lake with a BirdwatchIreland hide on the edge with a fairly large pool with good surrounding vegetation adjacent to the larger lake. I would imagine this large pool is where the guy is getting the dragons. It used to be reliable for Whoopers in winter but now most birders only frequent it on the winter county bird race for dabbling duck and Water Rail.

Directions to site
For those who wanna travel to the lake, It is best reached from the main road(old N1) on the way into balrothery and balbriggan. There is a brown information sign and gate saying Gormanstown anglers on the left on the way into balrothery. This about 500m from the old balrothery church. there is parking for 2 cars here at the gate and it is about 300m to the lake along a gravel roadway.

Niall Keogh kindly forwarded on further details of getting to site
Map to Knock Lake found on bottom of this webpage :

Best approached from road leading to Bog of the Ring. Park at first view point marked on map and walk in from there.

So far the report hasn't been followed up with a detailed description. Photos have not been possible .There were Emperor Anax imperator present as well. The observer has two years experience of observing odonata and is not 100%, though his own words "I am more sure it was a Lesser Emperor. The Blue waist was very obvious".

To date this report is in isolation in Ireland, but it's worth bearing in mind that Lesser Emperor have been reported as far north as Lancashire and West Yorkshire in Britain. Perhaps because north Dublin/Meath area seemed to be poorly recorded in past, an earlier influx to area remained undetected?

16th July Knock Lake - Confirmed
3 Lesser Emperor amongst other species inc Emperor. This forwarded onto me by Peter Doyle. I'm sure further details will follow.
From Ian Rippey
I met Peter Doyle at Knock Lake near Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, today (16th) in warm sunny weather with little wind and spent a couple of hours. He had arrived before me. He had already seen Lesser Emperor before I arrived and we soon saw the species. At the very least there was 1, but possibly 2 or even 3, mating pairs of Lesser Emperor, with (in my estimate) somewhere between 4 and 7 other males.

I saw the blue flash in the middle of the body very well on numerous occasions as the males came within a few yards. Eventually Peter saw one at rest about 20 yards away and we had a look at it through his telescope. I also filmed it with a x22 Zoom on the camcorder;  

16th July 'East end pool', near Sigginstown Island at Tacumshin Co. Wexford
Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope seen by Tom Kilbane (per Killian Mullarney)
16th-17th July Knock Lake from Peter Doyle
Following up on an extraordinary report of ‘2/3’ Lesser Emperor, Anax parthenope, and ‘3+’ Emperor, Anax imperator at Knock Lake north County Dublin, I arrived at the locality at 12.10 on Saturday 16/7. The ambient temperature was good and increased significantly throughout the day.

There are short ‘piers’ on this side of the lake and I stood out on one of them whereupon a hawker type dragonfly flew by with a bright blue base to the abdomen. Hardly believing what I saw I followed it with my bins as it flew up and down a stretch of the shore. It was regularly ‘buzzed’ by a male Brown Hawker. Staying here for close to 2 and a half hours I got excellent views of it and another male Lesser Emperor and a male and female in tandem.

After about an hour I was joined by Ian Rippey. At one point I had a male perched viewing it through a telescope noting all the salient features – ‘yellow band’ above the light blue base to the generally brown abdomen with a dark central line, brown thorax, apple green eyes and clear wings. In flight the abdomen sometimes took on a violet hue but with the beacon like blue base always standing out.

The final tally for the day was 3 Lesser Emperor,

The next day Sunday 17/7 I again worked the site. The 3 Lesser Emperors still showed well including a female ovipositing with male attached further out in the lake. A male Lesser Emperor was photographed by Brian Porter who were also present at the site. An excellent dragonfly weekend!

31st July Knock Lake - Ciarán Williams
The last sighting of Lesser Emperor was on the 31st July I think, when a male was struggling in the grass in front of me where I was just about to step! should have brought the camera that day!
©2005 All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution is prohibited