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Rare damselfly spotted in Buckinghamshire

In a real coup for nature lovers across the city, the Willow Emerald damselfly has been spotted at Tattenhoe Valley Park, The Parks Trust has announced. This is the first time this rare insect has been recorded in Milton Keynes and even Buckinghamshire as a whole.

The Willow Emerald damselfly was spotted by one of The Parks Trust’s dedicated volunteers, Harry Appleyard, at a pond in Tattenhoe. Harry and Martin Kincaid, Biodiversity Officer for The Parks Trust, were able to watch a female damselfly ovipositing (laying eggs) on a goat willow tree by the water.

The Willow Emerald damselfly was first recorded in Britain in 2009, since then it has slowly spread along the east coast and through East Anglia. This record is probably the furthest west it has so far been recorded.

Generally between 39 and 44mm in length, and of a metallic green colour, this damselfly is found near ponds, canals or other still water with overhanging trees.

Martin commented: “This is a really exciting discovery and full credit to Harry who walks this patch regularly and reports the wildlife he finds. This is one of a number of insects that is increasing its range in the UK with climate change and it’s great that the first Bucks record has come from Milton Keynes.”

Alan Nelson, Country Recorder for dragonflies, said “I am delighted to confirm that the first Willow Emerald damselflies for Bucks were found in Milton Keynes on 29th September and have been seen regularly since then. This insect is easily overlooked and we can expect to find it in other locations across Milton Keynes in the future”.

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