The Dragonflies of Eakring
     
The formation of Eakring Flash has been instrumental in the encouragement of both colonisation of several new Odonata species and the spread of existing populations formerly restricted to the Eakring Meadows area and (in particular) the Penny Pasture Common pool.
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Most species are generally tied to these two sites. The larger hawkers and the darters however, can be met with virtually anywhere, even well away from the nearest water.

Status of the area's Odonata species 1998-2007

With it's perfect habitat, species' quick to become established at Eakring Flash were Black-tailed Skimmer and the Emperor Dragonfly. The slow moving part of The Beck here, is also a favoured area with both species, along with the Beautiful Damoiselle which particularly favours the area near the bridge. Later additions have included Emerald Damselfly, Four-spotted Chaser and Ruddy Darter. The current list at the end of 2007, totals 15 species.

 
   
Banded Damoiselle Calopteryx splendens
Added to the existing species list during 1999, when a single was present at Eakring Flash. Sightings and numbers increased in 2000 and 2001 when several adults could be found along The Beck at Eakring Flash, but it has since become scarce and there have been just single records up to 2005. The slower moving part of The Beck at Eakring Flash remaining the best site to find these beautiful insects. Odd males have also been recorded flying over the Eakring to Wellow road moving between suitable sites and there is just one record from Eakring Meadows.  
     
Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa
First discovered in 2000, when a male was at Eakring Flash on August 8th. Over the following weeks, more emerging adults were found, tending to frequent the long grass and vegetation around the water. In all, possibly half a dozen adults were seen, including one female. 2001 again saw numerous records involving small numbers of adults around the margins of Eakring Flash and sighitngs suggested that colonisation of the sites had been successful.  
     
Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymhula
On June 14th 2001, a visit to one of the small ponds at Eakring Meadows in dull conditions, produced two Large Red Damselflies. As far as I know, this was the first occurrence of the species in the area. The occurrence of Large Red Damselfly at Eakring Meadows, saw the number of Odonata recorded here rise to 15. It is thought to be extremely doubtful (but not impossible) that this damselfly had somehow managed to pass unnoticed before. Large Red Damselflies appeared at Eakring Flash in 2002 and the species is now resident.  
     
Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans
A very common species found at all wet sites within the area, with Eakring Flash attracting the area's highest numbers.  
     
Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella
After first being positively identified at Eakring Meadows on July 16th 2000, a large population rise during 2003 saw the Azure Damselfly become a relatively common species and showing a slightly earlier flight-period than the Common Blue Damselfly. The Azure Damselfly can now regularly be found at Eakring Flash.  
     
Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum
Very common and locally abundant at Eakring Flash, which regularly holds counts of up to 400 adults. The species is found in all areas and habitats. A minimum of 1000 at Eakring Flash on June 29th 2003, is the area's highest single site count.  
     
Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea
The Southern Hawker represents one of the more scarce Hawker species in the area. There was just a single record during 2000, compared to 1/3 adults present the previous year. Sightings have since become more regular, although the Southern Hawker has not reached the numbers present in the hot Summer of 2003.  
     
Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis
A common hawker and regularly recorded throughout the area. The distinctive adults can be met with almost anywhere, even well away from water. It's strongholds are along stretches of The Beck at Eakring Flash and Eakring Meadows. The Brown Hawker is easily identified by being the only UK species with a brown suffusion to the wings.  
     
Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta
The commonest species of hawker in the area, the Migrant Hawker is most often found hunting along the old hedge at Eakring Flash (where good numbers were present during the 2001 flight season) but is also fairly common over a wide range of habitats and can be met with just about anywhere.  
     
Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator
After a single record of this spectacular insect in 1999, an increase was evident during 2000 when at least three were at Eakring Flash from July 16-21st, with another male at Penny Pasture Common on July 18th. The Emperor Dragonfly was not recorded during 2001 or 2004 , but has been present at Eakring Flash each year between. The Beck is one particularly favoured site for patrolling males.  
     
Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata
A new addition to the area list during 2000, with single records from both Eakring Meadows and Eakring Flash. The Four-spotted Chaser is rare here and the only other record came in 2003 when one was noted over the cereal field at the northern-end of Eakring Flash on July 25th.  
     
Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum
Recorded for the first time during 1999, when up to five males were at Eakring Flash. This was another species to increase greatly in 2000 based on the number of sightings from the previous year. At least five males were again present from July 16-August 20th. A further increase took place in 2001, with at least 15 males present at Eakring Flash. Good numbers were present during 2003, but there has been a decline since. Eakring Flash still holds around seven or eight males during the flight season and the Black-tailed Skimmer can be encountered throughout the area.  
     
Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa
Recorded several times from Eakring Flash and Penny Pasture Common during 1999, but only one record the following year on June 29th, when a female was on The Beck at Eakring Flash. Not recorded at all in 2001. The Broad-bodied Chaser remained very scarce here, but sightings have increased within the past two years.  
     
Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum
In 2000 a male frequented the footpath alongside The Beck and Eakring Flash on August 31-September 1st and seen again on September 10th. At least three were around a small pond at Eakring Meadows (August 14th 2003) but it has been absent since.  
     
Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum
A very common species that occurs everywhere within the area. The Common Darter flies late into October and is especially common along the old hedge at Eakring Flash.  
 
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