Read about the life and work of the Attingham Wardens

Attingham Park is a National Trust property comprising of an 18th Century mansion set in a Repton landscape; the Park and wider Estate includes a deer park, walled garden, several miles of the rivers Severn and Tern, extensive farmland and woodlands.

Thursday 12 July 2012


It's my week off this week but today (it being the first dry sunny day all week) I went into work armed with my net and binoculars to survey the damselflies and dragonflies on the ponds in the Mile Meadow and the Deer Park. It was fantastic! Warm, sunny and with only a gentle breeze, it was the perfect day for sitting and watching the insect world fly by. Over both ponds I had 9 species positively identified and 2 that I think I saw but with only fleeting glances it was difficult to be sure. I definitely saw the following:
  • Azure damselfly
  • Common blue damselfly
  • Variable damselfly
  • Common blue-tailed damselfly
  • Emerald damselfly
  • Large red damselfly
  • Banded demoiselle
  • Emperor dragonfly
  • Four-spotted chaser (dragonfly)
I think I also saw a brown hawker and some kind of darter - a common red?

The most exciting part of the day came when I was looking for exuviae amongst the reeds and found a newly emerged emperor holding on to its old shell while it dried out and strengthened its muscles. I sat nearby and watched him for an hour and a half as he gradually started moving, stretching his legs, then wings, then climbing up the reed and taking off on his first flight. I felt like a proud mum watching him fly off across the meadow! I got some good photos too, so here are a few of the best:

Emerald damselfly
Four-spotted chaser
Large red damselflies
The newly emerged Emperor - still pale in colouring and
building his strength for his first flight
After an hour he started to move, stretching his legs and starting to climb higher
Still climbing and flexing his wings - moments later he made his first flight.
Good luck!
The exuviae he left behind - now added to my collection


  1. The course on dragonflies and damselflies paid off then? ;)

    Lovely photos! I'd love to have half your insect knowledge!

  2. Ahh it was a brilliant course, you should take it! Ian was a great teacher. If only the sun would make a few more appearances so I could actually practice what I learned...