The Cotswold Water Park is considered to be regionally and nationally important for the populations of dragonflies and damselflies found here. Both for the assemblage of 22 breeding species (about half of the UK’s total breeding species) as well as for the scarcer species established here. The nationally scarce Downy Emerald dragonfly is one such species, which is found at a number of locations across the water park including here at Log House Holidays.
The 2014 dragonfly surveys have been a real success down at the lake this year. The Downy Emeralds, pictured above, are more widespread now than first thought across the Cotswold Water Park. The greatest population centre is just across the road at Willow Pool & Netherwood Lakes and we are seeing some numbers spilling over into our favorable habitat. Enjoying the laid-back Log House Holidays environment no doubt! Hopefully this trend will develop and we will continue to enjoy sightings of these beautiful insects as they dash around the lake edges. We are one of the oldest lakes in the water park, and our now well-established trees and vegetation cover offer a great habitat for the Downy Emerald, which specifically needs mature trees and woodland as feeding grounds for the adults.
The Hairy Dragonfly was seen again this year around the Cotswold Water Park in small numbers; furthermore we also found evidence that they are now breeding here for first time. This new species of dragonfly to colonize the area is a great reflection on the ongoing vegetation succession that we are encouraging at the lake.
With just eight cabins hidden around the 100 acres we have tried to create an eco-friendly environment where these diverse eco-systems are not disturbed. To promote habitat management for Downy Emeralds we will be following the advice provided by ecologist Gareth Harris. This will include, for example, maintaining areas of shoreline with overhanging trees as well as undertaking some management to create sunny sections of shorelines. By maintaining areas of leaf litter in the lake edge we will also maintain necessary habitat for the larvae to overwinter.
Downy Emerald dragonflies and Hairy Dragonflies are two of the earlier-emerging species in the UK; Downy Emerald adults will emerge from the lakes from late April and throughout May. Hairy Dragonflies will emerge throughout May and early June. Keep a look out for these distinctive species as they feed around the lake edges and clash in dramatic battles for breeding territory!
We look forward to seeing numbers develop going forward and providing you with some exciting sightings and photo opportunities on your next short break at Log House Holidays. The two-mile circular lakeside walk or your private piers are both great places to look out for dragonflies where at least 14 species have been seen in recent years. See how many different species you can spot. Plan your next family holiday, jump in your rowing boat and see what you can find…
With thanks to Gareth Harris Ecology & Conservation for the ongoing advice and monitoring at Log House Holidays. Picture by Gareth Harris.