||Brownett mentions the River Swere in north
Oxfordshire as a stronghold to at least the early
1990's . More recently, there is a cluster of
records from the extreme north of the County, with a
scattering from various sites in the south,
including Letcombe Brook in East Hanney (2004), the
rivers Ock and Windrush, as well as the Thames at
Tadpole Bridge . There are 2010 records from
Waterperry Wood and Stanton St John, both in the
north of the County. In 2011/12 there were records
from other sites in this general area - Waterperry
Wood/Bernwood Forest and Otmoor. In 2017, there were
again a few records from Otmoor. Since then this species appears
to be expanding its range in the county, and
increasingly moving into sites where only Banded
Demoiselle were found previously.
||A common and widespread species, especially along
the river Thames.
Occurs intermittently at a small number of sites in
the county. In 2016 Radley Lakes is the only known site
for this species in the County. Otmoor
was previously the premier site but there were no records
from there in 2015 and 2016. In
September 2012, there were new site records of three
at Shellingford Pit, with a further record for 2013
and a few in 2014. There have been none since caused
by the sad total desiccation of this site. There is a scattering of odd records from a
few other sites, such as Dry Sandford Pit .
Another recently discovered site is Faringdon Folly
Park Pond, that held small numbers in a very localised
area in 2017. Since then there have been various
scattered records of small numbers from sites such as
the Trap Grounds, Oxford and Longford Park, Banbury.
Willow Emerald Damselfly
First record in 2019.
The first county record was on 10 September 2019 by S
Brooks at the unusual location of a dried up pool in
the middle of Wytham Woods. No photo or description
was provided but the observer was experienced with this
species. There was no further sign when looked for later by
local enthusiasts. At the time, this was the furthest
west record for this species in the country.
In 2020, there were records from three sites - Radley
Lakes (1), Otmoor (small numbers of males and females)
and the Trap Grounds where a breeding colony with more
than 10 individuals was established, with ovipositing
noted. In 2021, further range expansion was noted,
with records from sites along the River Thames in the
south east of the county (North Stoke, Shillingford
and Cholsey). However smaller numbers were recorded at
the 2020 sites of Otmoor and the Trap Grounds.
Reasonably common in suitable habitat, i.e. well
vegetated slow moving rivers such as the Thames,
especially near Goring railway bridge. In the 2015
there were more records than usual from other
scattered sites including Chimney Meadows and the
Cherwell Valley (between Grimsbury Reservoir and the
M40). Since then there have been several records from
the Thames downstream from Abingdon, and also the
BBOWT reserve of Lambs Pool in the north of the
||Large Red Damselfly
Quite widely distributed in the County and usually the
first species of the new season to be reported. Sites include Otmoor, Farmoor
(Pinkhill), Dry Sandford Pit, Faringdon Folly Park
||One of the commonest damselflies in the County.
||Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly
||Brownett mentions records from the Lower Windrush
Valley Gravel Pits in the early 1990's when they
were being actively dug . There are more recent
records from the same area, up to 2000  by J M
There were then no records until
2020, when a new site at Longford Park, Banbury was
found by Brian Stone on 19 June. This stormwater pond held several
individuals and breeding was clearly taking place.
This site also had Emerald Damselfly and there was one
report of a Keeled Skimmer.
In 2021, there
were further reports from Banbury and a new site in
Didcot, again at a stormwater pond, was located.
Used to be reasonably numerous at Dry Sandford Pit, with a
reported spread to the nearby BBOWT reserve
of Parsonage Moor . However recently numbers may have been
lower at these sites. This is a very isolated
population, and I have heard a suggestion they might
have been introduced here several years ago. Since
then this species has maintained its foothold in the
county with continuing records from Dry Sandford Pit
and the other Cothill reserves.
||A numerous species, but needs careful examination
to separate from the commoner Common Blue.
Particularly abundant along the Roman Road at Otmoor,
early in the season where hundreds can be found on a
||Only known from a
few locations in the
County, which tend to change. It
was seen in 2010 and previously  in the Cothill/Parsonage Moor area, but
between 2013 and 2016 there have been no records from that site.
In 2017, another was found. Roger Wyatt had been monitoring a second site near Yarnton
for several years, but in 2013 he found only 4, down
on previous totals and there have been no records
since then. There was a further record of 6 at this
site in 2020, per Roger Wyatt.
In 2015, Martin
Wackenier found several in a small area by the River
Thames close to Barton Fields nr Abingdon. They
appeared to be concentrated near a pool at
N51.669995,W1.260927. This colony was still present in
subsequent years to 2021 but in reduced numbers. In 2016 Wayne Bull located another site at Iffley
Meadows, but there were no further records.
||Common Blue Damselfly
||Probably the commonest damselfly in Oxfordshire.
||Occurs quite widely at many sites.
||Small Red-eyed Damselfly
Currently only known at a few sites
|Shellingford Pit held varying numbers since
at least 2006 until 2016, but in 2017 the site was
dry with no records. 2010 was a good year for this species with
well over 10 from Shellingford, and with a new site record
from Radley Lakes . It has also been recorded
from Didcot Power Station/Appleford Pit .
In 2017, the first record for VC23 was from
Blenheim Lake (southern end) and the best site was Faringdon Folly Park Pond where Bill Haynes recorded
up to 60 in early August. After years of being
confined to a small number of sites, its range
appeared to expand hugely in 2020 with records from
many locations with no previous records. The highest
numbers came from Otmoor, with many records provided
by those looking for the elusive Southern Migrant
Hawkers. In 2021, there were records from further
additional sites, with the highest numbers found at
the Grove Meadows Stormwater pond.
||Small Red Damselfly
||Regular records from the
special habitat in the Cothill NNR/Parsonage Moor area from 1910 to 2015!
. Cothill NNR continues to be more productive
than Parsonage Moor for this species.
Some evidence of a decline since 2012.
||An elusive species localised to suitable habitat
such as the Thames, where it is reputed to occur
along its full length in the County, albeit at a low
density on some stretches. The best known site is the
railway bridge south of Goring, although even this are not guaranteed
to produce sightings. The Thames at Little Whittenham
Woods gave a
remarkable count of 14 on 9 May 2009 .
The 2017 BDS Clubtail count produced only a handful of
records of adults/recent emergents, with only one
upstream of Oxford at Tadpole Bridge. Larger numbers
of exuviae were found, especially downstream from
The 2020 season produced an unusually
high number of records of exuviae, emergents
and adults with the most sightings being from Goring
(or Gatehampton) Railway Bridge and Cholsey Marsh.
All records were downstream from Oxford. Records in
2021 returned to a more typical level, probably due to
the poorer spring conditions.
Increasingly reported and spreading to new
The main site, early in the season, used to be Otmoor where it had
been seen in small numbers since 1998 . In 2010
and subsequently it was found at Radley Lakes by
Wayne Bull. In 2013 there were new site records from
the Pinkhill reserve at Farmoor and Whitecross Green
Wood. In 2015, there were reports from more new
sites - the Barton
Fields area of the River Thames, to the south of Radley
Lakes and the Parsonage Moor BBOWT reserve near
Cothill. Since then further first site records
have included the Trap Grounds in Oxford (2017).
By 2020 this species was being reported from many
sites across the county, including along the River
Thames and is no longer a localised species.
due to absence of suitable habitat
The last confirmed record given by Brownett  was in
1983. There are just a handful of records since 2000
in the NBN database , from sites including
Lashford Lane Fen, Parsonage Moor and Iffley
Meadows. With no records since 2004, this must be
one of the rarest dragonflies in Oxforshire. There
is potential for confusion with other hawkers (Migrant
and Southern) and many of these historical reports are
suspect for this reason.
||One of the easiest hawkers to find in Oxfordshire.
Visits gardens regularly.
||A commonly encountered hawker, but slightly less
so than Southern.
||Can be numerous in late, good summers.
Southern Migrant Hawker
The first county record was of an immature by Geoff
Wyatt on 15 June 2020 from the western side of Otmoor.
Further records of different immatures and, later,
adults followed from different locations all across
Otmoor but it remained elusive throughout with a
maximum count of 3. It is likely to have first bred,
unnoticed, the previous year. In 2021, there were
further reports from Otmoor, but numbers were
generally lower than in 2020, and disappointingly the
species was even more elusive.
||Again a widespread species in Oxfordshire,
occurring at plenty of sites.
||Records from Appleford Pit in 2006 (2), Radley
Lakes in 2006 & 2007 and at Shellingford Pit in
2008. Quite remarkably this last record was one of
only 8 in the entire country for 2008 ! After a
few blank years, the next record was on 31 July 2011
at Pit 60, Standlake Gravel Pits. The next report
was of the first female for the county, photographed
near Drayton in late August 2020.
On 27 February 2014, a large dragonfly was seen
briefly at Pucketty Farm, Littleworth, near Faringdon
by someone with limited Odonata knowledge. No
photograph or detailed description was obtained, but
from the time of year, the only plausible species of
dragonfly was considered to be Vagrant Emperor.
Remarkably, there was another record of a large
dragonfly crossing the M4 near Swindon, about a week
Golden Ringed Dragonfly
Golden Ringed Dragonflies are normally associated with
the acidic conditions in the northern and western areas of Britain, but there
is a small breeding population in the Bracknell/Crowthorne
area of Berkshire. A wandering individual from here may
account for a remarkable record of one from Cholsey on
25 May 2012, seen by an observer experienced with this
large, difficult to mistake species. This date is
however very early for this species. There is a more
recent record from just over the county border in
Bucks in July 2014, at a similar distance from the
Berkshire breeding area.
The NBN database 
used to contain a number of records from the early 2000s from
the west of the county, but these seemed doubtful and
have now disappeared, possibly because they were mis-located
from the New Forest, 100km to the south!
||Downy Emeralds favour ponds or small lakes with
surrounding trees. Brownett mentions this is a
scarce species with a northerly bias in the county.
Records since 2000 are from a scattering of sites,
mainly in the north of the county such as Rousham
Ponds, Ditchley Park and Standford St Martin .
However, there are a few records from sites in the
south, including the lake at Buckland House (no
public access) and the ponds at Little Whittenham
Wood (but not since 2001) . In May 2010, there
were records of males on Otmoor. As a result, other records for that site emerged for
2002, 2003 and 2004 . In 2010 it was also found
by Wayne Bull at a new site - Radley Lakes. There
were also records for this site in 2011 and 2012. In
2016, it was reported from Barton Pool by observers
looking for the Variable Damselflies. In 2020, there
was a record from another new site - the Trap Grounds,
Oxford as well as from Radley Lakes and Otmoor.
||Can be found at a number of sites, including
Otmoor and Shellingford Pit in good years.
|The Dragonfly Recording Network (DRN) ,
contains one single unconfirmed
record from Cassington Gravel Pits in 1986 by an
un-named observer. Not mentioned in  and I doubt
this record would have been accepted if it were a
However in 2014, there was a confirmed
record of one male on Otmoor on 6 July by Terry
Sherlock and Jason Coppock, with some
photos to support
the ID. Given its increasing range in the country,
more records may occur in future. The second record
was from the River Thames at Pinkhill on 29 June 2018
by Brian Walker.
||Widespread & numerous
||Can be very abundant at some sites, e.g. Otmoor.
||Likes muddy edges of ponds etc. Not difficult to
find in the County, e.g. Otmoor, Pinkhill and
Standlake Pit 60.
||This is generally an acid water species and probably a
relatively recent colonist. It now occurs at Dry Sandford Pit
(since 2006) and Parsonage Moor/Cothill NNR.
In 2020, there was a single record from a
completely different site in the extreme north of the
county - the stormwater pond at Longford Park, Banbury.
In 2021, records emerged of a male and an
immature seen at the Lye Valley NR, Oxford, with a
male also reported the previous year. There was a
report of a male at Sydlings Copse BBOWT. It is
notable that all these sites, apart from the
stormwater pond at Banbury, contain rare examples of
||This is also usually an acid species, but the most
recent record is from as long ago as 1986 at Hill
End Camp. There are also a few even older records
from Cothill, but none recently, suggesting this
species is extinct in the County.
||A reasonably common species in Oxfordshire. I have
even seen it in some surprising habitats such as the
stagnant canal near Wantage.
||Brownett mentions 4 records, the most recent being
from Clattercote Reservoir in 1995, which coincided
with an unprecedented influx of this species into
Britain. More recently, there was a record by G
Hopwood at Aston Rowant on 27 August 2006 ,
which again coincided with an influx of this
||Brownett mentions just 1 record from 1976. There
are two more recent records, from Otmoor in June
2006 and Radley Lakes in June 2007 . The 4th
record was from Radley on 13th September 2012 by
Wayne Bull, in a year during which there were
several records from Crookham/Greenham Commons in
There were no further records until
2020, when Wayne Bull again saw and photographed an
immature at Radley Lakes on 4th September at a very
similar location to that in 2012.
||Widespread & abundant
||Surely the County's most numerous dragonfly, later
in the season!