Dragonflies at Danes Moss

Danes Moss is a hotspot for dragonflies. 17 of the 26 species occurring in Cheshire have been recorded here. Nine so far have been recorded within the proposed development area.

The most important area for them is the series of pools in the North-East area of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which is also the area that is closest to the proposed development area. The ability of these pools to hold water all year round will be heavily dependent on the water table of the surrounding moss. A lowering of the water table therefore would have dire consequences for the populations of dragonflies and damselflies.

Natural England, the public body responsible for protecting England’s natural environment have stated that,

“Due to the depth of peat across the development site, major ground stabilisation works are required which could have a devastating effect on the hydrology of the whole area.”

As yet, there has been no clear investigation on the impacts of the proposed development on water table of the legally protected SSSI. This illustrates the dire impact the proposed development could have on our natural heritage in the immediate area.

Of the species found at Danes Moss three are in serious decline nationally:

  • Emerald Damselfly
  • Black Dater
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly (recorded in the development area)

To find out more about dragonflies across Cheshire, take a look at the Cheshire Dragonflies Blog here

Common Darter mating
  • Migrant Hawker

    RECORDED WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AREA. A small hawker usually seen along woodland edges often well away from water. Widespread in the UK but moving Northwards significantly of the last few decades primarily due to the impact of climate change. Flies from July onwards into the Autumn.

  • Southern Hawker

    Similar to the Migrant Hawker but distinguished apart by the two prominent green stripes at the front of the thorax. Can also be found on woodland edges well away from water and has also spread northwards significantly in recent decades. Flies a little earlier than the Migrant Hawker and so can be seen from June onwards.

  • Brown Hawker

    RECORDED WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AREA. A large dragonfly which is probably one of the most commonly seen as they hunt up and down woodland edges from June onwards. Fairly easily separated from other species seen at Danes Moss by its obvious golden brown wings.

  • Blue Emperor

    One of the largest UK species that hovers and hunts over water with lovely bright blue and green colouration. In warmer years it can be seen from May onwards. Like other species it is also expanding it's range northwards, again presumably due to the impacts of climate change.

  • Broad-bodied Chaser

    RECORDED WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AREA. The males of this species have an amazing broad sky-blue abdomen (as pictured) with the females having a similar broad appearance but with a golden brown abdomen. Generally found around water but has been seen across the moss. It is usually one of the first of the larger dragonflies to appear, usually from May onwards.

  • Four Spotted Chaser

    RECORDED WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AREA. Another species with a broad abdomen than can be instantly recognised from others by the obvious pairs of spots on each wing that can be seen when not flying. This is also a one of the earliest species to appear, usually from May onwards

  • Black-tailed Skimmer

    Another species that has a marked difference between the sexes, with the male (pictured) having a light blue abdomen and the female being yellow with a striking black ladder pattern. It tends to appear a little later than the chaser species but can still be from May onwards.

  • Black Darter

    Our smaller Darter found in the UK, the males are very striking in their mostly black colouration. It is now becoming rarer in Cheshire (as well as nationally) as climate change pushes its range further north.

  • Ruddy Darter

    Easily confused with the Common Darter but the abdomen has a more clubbed tip and the thorax is unmarked.. It is much less frequent on the Moss.

  • Common Darter

    RECORDED WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AREA. The most common darter that can be found on the moss becoming much more visible from July/August onwards. This species is often seen darting away from the footpath in front of you!

  • Emerald Damselfly

    A very pretty green damselfly that can be seen mostly fluttering around water edges. Can easily be told apart from other damsels when resting as it will keep it's wings spread as opposed to folding them together along the abdomen. Sadly this species is in serious decline nationally.

  • Small Red-eyed Damselfly

    The only blue damselfly that has red eyes recorded on the moss so far. This species appears to have colonised Cheshire in the last few years. Another indicator of climate change where this species is spreading north.

  • Large Red Damselfly

    RECORDED WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AREA. One of the more common damselfly found on the moss. It is not tied to water and can generally be found anywhere. It can also be seen from May onwards generally through the whole summer.

  • Blue-tailed Damselfly

    RECORDED WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AREA. This striking damselfly is sadly another species that is in decline nationally across the UK. It is unlikley to be confused with any other species found on the moss.

  • Azure Damselfly

    RECORDED WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AREA. One of the commoner two blue species found on the moss, it can be found flying out of long vegetation. One of the key identification points to look for in the males is the black bow tie marking that can be seen on the tip of the abdomen!

  • Common Blue Damselfly

    RECORDED WITHIN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AREA. Probably the commonest dragonflies found at Danes Moss. This species is always a highlight of the summer months. More blue than the Azure Damselfly and the males have a blue tipped abdomen that lacks the bow tie marking.

  • Banded Demoiselle

    Occasionally seen on the moss this species is probably more at home along the adjoining canal. With it's striking colouration and flapping flight it is unlikely to be confused with any other species at the moss. The adults can be seen mainly in June and July.