Hertfordshire and Middlesex’s Dragons and Damsels

Female ruddy darter © Josh Kubale 

Now is the perfect time to go in search of Hertfordshire and Middlesex’s most colourful residents – dragonflies and damselflies!

26 of Britain’s 42 native dragonfly and damselfly species can be found in Hertfordshire and Middlesex and many of them at our nature reserves.

Now is a great time to look for Dragonflies and Damselflies as they thrive over the summer months; adult dragonflies are most active between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when temperatures are at their highest. Dragonflies are cold-blooded and must warm themselves before flying, so in Britain flight is generally restricted to sunny weather.

Dragonflies and damselflies hunt for small insects while on the wing and persue their food at a surprising speed; dragonflies are some of the fastest insects in the world and can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, so head towards open water to spot them in action, hunting for insects.

Broad bodied chaser

Broad bodied chaser © Josh Kubale

Where to spot dragonflies

Amwell Nature Reserve in Ware is Hertfordshire’s top dragonfly site – 21 of Hertfordshire’s 26 recorded species have been seen here. There is a dedicated Dragonfly Trail open between May and October where visitors can see dragonflies zipping over the water.

Visit Amwell Nature Reserve

King’s Mead Nature Reserve comes a close second for places to spot our winged beauties, with 18 species spotted through the summer months including the scarce hairy dragonfly.

Visit King’s Mead Nature Reserve

Stocker’s Lake is a beautiful site to spot dragonflies over the vast lake – look for the thousands of damselflies as well as dragonflies such as the emperor and broadbodied chaser.  

Visit Stocker's Lake Nature Reserve

Another top spot for the emperor dragonfly is Hertford Heath where you can also see species such as the common darter and brown hawker on a still summer’s day.

Visit Hertford Heath Nature Reserve

Take walk through the dappled woodland of Fir and Pond Wood meandering past the reserve’s ponds where sixteen species of dragon and damselfly have been recorded.

Visit Fir and Pond Woods Nature Reserve

To help you get the most out of these top dragonfly sites, buy the FSC Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of Britain which is full of colour illustrations to help you identify the dragonflies and damselflies that you see. 

Dragonfly events

See our upcoming dragonfly events below and join us on 28th and 29th July for the 2018 Festival of Wildlife at Panshanger Park in Hertford for expert dragonfly walks.