Tuesday, 22 December 2009

UK sites for spotting Odonata: Little Bradley Ponds

Little Bradley Ponds, near Bovey Tracey in Devon is a small nature reserve run by Devon Wildlife Trust. There are two large and several tiny ponds on old clay workings. The old pond:

and the new pond, created in 1991:

Despite the small size of the nature reserve (~1 ha of water, with parking limited to just 2 cars at the site with space for another 2 further up the lane), it is a nationally-important site for a number of rare species. In total it has 25 species of odonata including the scarce blue-tailed damselfly, red-eyed damselfly, hairy dragonfly, lesser emperor, downy emerald and keeled skimmer. The first Devon record of brown hawker was recorded at the new pond in 1999.

Some of the most frequently seen species are the emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator):

beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo):

golden-ringed dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii):

southern hawker (Aeshna cyanea):

and the four-spotted chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata):