Flanders Moss NNR
Flanders Moss is a great places for dragonflies and damselflies, so good that it has been declared a dragonfly hotspot by the British Dragonfly Society (more info here) with 10 species commonly seen. The variety of wet pools, ditches and ponds means that there is a range of good breeding places and then the abundance of flying insects means that there are good feeding areas as well.
To see dragonflies the boardwalk is an excellent place to go. The easy walking (keeping your feet dry!) right next to lots of pools and open water means that you are right in amongst these creatures. So if you are visiting, especially on a sunny day, take a bit of time to look out for what is flying up and down hunting and what is perched on stems close to the waters edge.
Here are some of the types of dragonfly and damselfly that you are likely to see from the path at this time of year.
This is a female common hawker, one of the biggest dragonflies on Flanders. This is a female, laying eggs in a bog pool by pushing the end of her abdomen into the water. The yellow edge to the front of her wings is a good way of identifying this species.
A smaller dragonfly now of the wing is the black darter. This is a moorland and bog specialist and there can be hundreds around Flanders on a bright day. The males have a mostly black body with a narrow waist.
Where as the females (like this one below) are more yellow than black. This one is recently emerged as the wings still are shiny showing they haven’t completely hardened up.
The large red damselfly (below) doesn’t exactly what it says on the tin, it is large (for a damselfly) and is red. The only red damselfly here in Scotland.
The common blue damselfly is one of the most widespread damselflies in the UK but isn’t as common on Flanders Moss. It is easily picked out by its bright blue body.
And one of my favourites is the emerald damselfly (below). Unusually for a damselfly it sits with its wings slightly open and when you look closely it is a stunning metallic green with powder blue highlights, what’s not to like?
So why not take a bit of time at one of the benches and see if you can spot some of these spectacular creatures.
That second blue damsel picture looks Azure, not Common Blue.