This summer search for the fierce flying jewels of our skies
This summer search for the fierce flying jewels of our skies.
Listen for the fast whirling of wings when you͛re near a river, pond or lake, or even in a woodland
glade or garden. It could be one of the fiercest predators of our skies: the dragonfly.
Dragonflies are masters of flight. They duck and turn in pursuit of their small insect prey. Then dart, slow down, hover and move onwards again. They are iridescent and colourful and have been around since before the dinosaurs.
There are 23 species of dragonfly in the UK and they are found in almost every habitat. Several
species travel a long way away from water to feed in gardens, fields and woodland edges. You might even see them resting on your clothes line. One of the greatest wanderers is the migrant hawker. Look for them hunting along sheltered hedgerows in August and September.
Damselflies are closely related to dragonflies but they are dainty and have thinner bodies. As a
general rule, the damselfly rests with wings folded, while the stockier dragonfly keeps its wings
spread outwards. There are 17 species of damselfly in the UK. The earliest damselflies are on the
wing by early May. The last dragonfly of the year might still be flying on a warm October day.
The highest number of species found is during July and August. Like most insects, dragonflies are at their most active in warm sunny conditions, so pick your day wisely. Binoculars will come in handy, as most will fly off if you get too close. And of course, take care at the water͛s edge.
Both dragon and damselflies are reliant on water for their reproduction. In fact the jewel-coloured
adults we see only emerge for a small part of their whole life cycle. Most of their lives are spent
under the water in lakes, ponds and streams as larvae or ‘nymphs’. Unlike a caterpillar completely
transforming into a butterfly; dragonflies don͛t undergo a complete metamorphosis. Instead, they
shed their ’nymph’ skin before becoming an adult and flying away from their watery juvenile home.
This can happen between 8 and 17 times depending on species and conditions. They will spend
between 1 and 5 years living underwater. Far longer than the few months we see them as adults in
the summer time.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Summer events
For more events please visit: www.lincstrust.org.uk/events
Introduction to Dragonflies and Damselflies
10am – 4pm on Sunday 26 August and Monday 27 August
Meet the local expert at this drop-in event at Gibraltar Point and learn how to identify damselflies
and dragonflies. There will also be craft activities for younger visitors including making your own
No booking necessary. Pop in at any time between 10am and 4pm to The Old Coastguard Station at Gibraltar Point, Skegness.
Messingham Sand Quarry Open Day
10am – 4pm, Thursday 9 August
Discover this varied nature reserve of open water, wood, marsh and heath. Plus pond dipping and
Meet us in the car park at the reserve on the B1400 Messingham to Kirton-in-Lindsey road.
Wild-Time: Underwater Nursery
11am – 3pm, Friday 10 August
Join us for a family-fun day at Gibraltar Point. Please wear waterproof shoes or wellies.
Sign in at the Old Coastguard Station. £3 per child
Family Fun Day
11am – 3pm, Friday 17 August
Make some wild memories at our free drop-in family fun day.
Open to all! Drop by any time between 11am - 3pm.
Rimac Nature Reserve, Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes Saltfleetby, Louth, nearest postcode LN11 7TS
3pm – 5pm, Saturday 18 August
Ever wondered what lives under the waves of the North Sea? Come and find us on the beach at
Anderby Creek, PE24 5XW