The sun was out and a large group of dragonfly enthusiasts met at Rainton Meadows to be shown around by Trustee Michael Coates. As some of those attending knew little about dragonflies, the event started with a quick description of what might be seen that day and everyone was equipped with a spotter’s guide. At the very first pond the tour went to they were able to put those skills to the test, as there were four species clearly visible. Common Darters were laying eggs and Brown Hawkers were dive bombing the group.
Spurred on by these early successes, the group wandered on to the series of small ponds on the way to the hide. Each was rich with life and it was not long before the day’s tally had reached eight species. Michael spotted a nymph in the water (the early stage of a dragonfly) and was showing it to the crowd, when a Ruddy Darter Dragonfly decided to land on his arm and settle down. As this made pointing out the nymph rather tricky, cameras turned on the Ruddy Darter who was very obliging and stayed for all to photograph.
Each pond and the paths were alive with dragonflies and by now the species count was up to nine. At times it was difficult to know where to look as they were all around. At Joe’s Pond there was a wonderful aerial display with a Brown Hawker chasing a Common Hawker through the crowd, while a Common Darter took the opportunity to sit back and watch from the comfort of someone’s hat.
A wide range of species, and all stages of life were observed, reinforcing that Rainton Meadows is one of the North East’s Dragonfly hot spots.
If you were unable to attend, a similar tour will run at Low Barns on September 15th. To book a place click here
If you would like to know more about the dragonflies spotted this year in the north east, check out Michael’s newsletter https://durham-wildlife-dragons.ourlatest.news/issue-2-1
If you see dragonflies on one of the Trust’s sites, please submit your sightings using this online form. https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/OwB3P0