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Dragonfly Delight for Rodley

The British Dragonfly Society has recognised Rodley Nature Reserve as a ‘Dragonfly Hotspot’!

The Dragonfly Hotspot launched on Saturday June 22nd at the beautiful Rodley Nature Reserve in Leeds. The celebrations formed part of the annual Leeds Birdfair, which is a well-known and well attended local event organised by Start Birding and the Rodley volunteers. Fiona McKenna, Conservation Outreach Officer from British Dragonfly Society (BDS) made a speech to visitors on the day and said

“It was an obvious decision for us to designate Rodley Nature Reserve as a Dragonfly Hotspot, because the volunteers who run this site have done such an amazing job at creating just the right types of habitat for dragonflies to thrive here. Not only have they worked hard in creating the habitat but they’ve done something equally as amazing by giving all of us free access to come and get up close to these amazing insects and learn all about them too.

"It is a hidden gem in the city, you pass through the hustle and bustle then suddenly turn a corner and over the canal bridge a whole different world awaits you - one full of mesmerising wildlife, idyllic ponds lined by colourful wildflowers and a whole team of helpful volunteers waiting to help you learn all about it!”

Peter Mill from Rodley Nature Reserve added “My interest in dragonflies spans several decades and I have worked on the structure, physiology and ecology of these amazing insects. Hence, when I was given the opportunity to develop a ‘dragonfly area’ at Rodley Nature Reserve it was a chance that couldn’t be missed.

"In 2004 and 2005 four ponds were established with the specific aim of providing good habitat for dragonflies and damselflies while at the same time giving access to the public so that these fascinating insects could easily be seen and appreciated. This was so successful that several more ponds were built in 2008 and 2009 in the area now known as ‘The Dragonfly Ponds’. So far 18 species have been recorded on the reserve most of which are resident. We are delighted to have been recognised by the British Dragonfly Society as a ‘Dragonfly Hotspot’.”

Dragonfly Hotspots are special places, carefully chosen because they support a good variety of Dragonfly and Damselfly species, are easy to access, and can provide opportunities for local communities to get involved with Dragonfly conservation and events. On sunny days, visitors to Rodley Nature Reserve can enjoy fantastic views of Dragonflies gliding and zooming around the specially designed ponds and along the riverside walk too. So far 18 different species of dragonfly and damselfly have been recorded on this site – that’s nearly half the number of species we get in the whole of the U.K. Pretty good going for a former water treatment works site in a city!

The BDS and site staff are collaborating to run courses, walks and other events at the new Hotspot throughout the summer each year, while in the autumn and winter the BDS will support the Hotspot’s volunteer work parties in managing the site to improve its Dragonfly habitats.

Keep an eye on the BDS website and social media pages for details of future dragonfly related events at this site.

To find out more please contact BDS Conservation Outreach Officer Fiona: fiona.mckenna@british-dragonflies.org.uk

For information about Rodley Nature Reserve please see their website.