A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

Windmill Farm Nature Reserve is one of the best sites for dragonflies and damselflies in Cornwall. Find out more in this article from August 2013.
Photo: Douglas Wright


Windmill Farm National Nature Reserve is one of the best sites for Dragonflies in Cornwall (for this report when I refer to Dragonflies I mean Dragonflies and Damselflies). The fantastic, sunny weather has ensured a bonanza year for these lovely insects with large numbers still on the wing. Over the years 19 species of Dragonfly have been recorded at the Farm.

Teneral RVD Adult Male RVD

This year I have seen the following species: Emperor, Common Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker, Golden Ringed Dragonfly, 4 Spotted Chaser, Broad Bodied Chaser, Black Tailed Skimmer, Keeled Skimmer, Red Veined Darter, Common Darter, Emerald Damsel, Beautiful Damsel, Large Red Damsel, Azure Damsel, Common Blue Damsel, Blue Tail Damsel.

The most notable species in this list is the Red Veined Darter – a national rarity. Red Veined Darters are common in southern Europe but not so in the UK. This species bred at the Farm last year and again this year. There were good numbers around in June and July and I am expecting a new brood to emerge in late September.

If you visit the Farm in late September you may see teneral (freshly emerged) RVD's – these should emerge from the big pond. The key distinguishing feature is the blue eyes. If you look at the adult RVD (above) in addition to the blue eyes you can see the red veins in the wings (the teneral picture was taken at the Farm – the other is one I took in Rhodes this year).

On the wing at the moment are masses of Common Darter, Emerald and Azure Damsels. There are also good numbers of Golden Ringed (best site is on the big boardwalk) and Emperor Dragonflys (anywhere). If you are lucky you can find Migrant Hawkers - these are currently emerging from the Big Pond at the bottom of the first field. Common Hawkers are also about (not common! – a male has established its territory on the second dragonfly pond). The big boardwalk (particularly bordering the heathland) is a good site for Southern Hawker.

Here are a few shots that I have taken this year.

Golden Ringed Dragonfly
  Newly emerged Migrant Hawker
 Southern Hawker Newly Emerged Common Darter
 Male Broad Bodied Chaser  Four Spotted Chaser

To find the farm, follow the A3083 Helston to Lizard road. 3 kms after the B3296 to Mullion Cove, look out for a sign for 'Wild Camping' on the right-hand side. It covers a large area (over 120 hectares) and has a good mix of habitat – heathland, scrub, pasture and plenty of ponds. Finally I am leading a walk (looking for migrant birds) on Sunday the 6th October at 10 am – it is free and a good way to get to know the Farm.

Published: August 2013
Author: Dougy Wright
Photos: Dougy Wright

Click here for information about other species of fauna found on the Lizard.

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