The British Dragonfly Society certainly picked a good week for 'Dragonfly Week' this year with lots of dragonflies and damselflies emerging, perching and hunting around the ponds and ditches on the reserve.  

We can also announce a new species for Pulborough Brooks - a Southern Migrant Hawker dragonfly, found and photographed by Graham who is one of our volunteers.

Southern migrant hawker by Graham Osborne

This rare migrant appears to be becoming more frequent in the UK, and is a potential colonist.  This is a male with blue eyes, a green/blue thorax and a dark abdomen with blue markings.

This now brings the reserve list up to 28 species (out of 46 species considered to be resident or regular migrants to the UK) - the other additional from recent years being the willow emerald.

What makes Pulborough Brooks a great site for dragonflies and damselflies is the variety of wetland habitats - we have the River Arun itself, a network of ditches and many ponds. Some of the ponds are ephemeral and dry out in some years whilst others are deeper and hold water even in the driest of summers.  Our acidic heathland pools are also popular with specialist species.

If you are keen to come and see some of these spectacular insects then I'd suggest a walk taking in Black Pond on the heath and then Simms Pond on the wetland trail.

For Black Pond, follow the public footpath from the Visitor Centre (zig zag your way down the sandy track to look for bees and wasps en route) down the heathland slope and you can access the pond through a small (currently broken) gate.  This heathland pond is fantastic for four-spotted chasers and hawker dragonflies, but it is also where you could find the heathland specialists - black darter and small red damselfly.  It is also a good place to enjoy the very beautiful emerald damselflies.

Female emerald damselfly by Anna Allum.

Once you have checked out Black Pond, head out onto the wetland trail, turning left at the T-junction (towards West Mead) and you'll find Simms Pond. A few years ago two small ephemeral ponds were combined, extended and clay-lined, becoming 'Simms Pond' which now holds water for longer into the summer and this year has been a particular hotspot for dragonflies and damselflies.

As well as Graham's southern migrant hawker, there is a good range of species that can be seen at this pond including black-tailed skimmers and small red-eyed damselflies:

Black-tailed skimmer - Graham Osborne

Small red-eyed damselflies by Phil Thornton

Choose a sunny day and come and explore the nature trails in search of these fascinating creatures - don't forget to let us know what you spot.

This is our updated species list for the reserve:

Damselflies: willow emerald, emerald, banded demoiselle, beautiful demoiselle, small red, azure, variable, common blue, red-eyed, small red-eyed, blue-tailed and large red.

Dragonflies: southern migrant hawker, southern hawker, brown hawker, migrant hawker, emperor, hairy, common clubtail, golden-ringed, downy emerald, broad-bodied chaser, scarce chaser, 4-spotted chaser, black-tailed skimmer, black darter, ruddy darter, common darter.