The Combe Valley Countryside Park is home to many dragonflies. They can be divided into two groups; the damselflies and the dragonflies. Damselflies are generally smaller and daintier and when they land they usually fold their wings back along their body. Dragonflies are larger, more robust and hold their wings at right angles to the body when at rest.
Dragons and damsels are predators and their amazing eyesight and flying skills enable them to hunt other flying insects.
The photographs below show the damselflies most likely to be seen within the park.
Most damselflies will be on the wing during May, June and July although some may be seen in April and some will still be around in September. Most of the photographs show the male damsel, which you are most likely to see. The females have different and often variable colouring and it can be difficult to tell some species apart.
These photographs show some of the dragonflies most likely to be seen around the park.
Dragonflies generally appear a little later than the damsels, some much later. The Migrant Hawker doesn’t appear in any numbers until August but can be still seen in October, and sometimes later, along with the Common Darter.
Being strong fliers dragonflies often stray some distance from the nearest water and can often be found on the edge of woodland or along hedges.
The British Dragonfly Society has an excellent website with identification guides and lots of information about ‘dragons’ and ‘damsels’.
UK Dragonflies and Damselflies is a very helpful facebook group.
A useful field guide is “Britain’s Dragonflies” (2014) by Dave Smallshire and Andy Swash.
photos on this page by Peter Hunnisett