Monitoring Dragonflies and Damselflies on Hampstead Heath
Wildlife Monitoring volunteers run regular dragonfly transects of the main pond chains on Hampstead Heath from May to October, noting down the species they spot, their abundance and any breeding behaviour observed. Since dragonflies and damselflies have aquatic nymphs (young), the diversity and abundance of species are an indicator of the habitat quality of the ponds on the Heath.
The resulting data is especially useful for gauging the success of pond habitat restoration completed in 2017 as part of the Ponds Project. Our Wildlife Monitors have identified 17 dragonfly and damselfly species on the Heath, with 10 confirmed as breeding in the ponds. One of the most recognisable species is the metallic green Willow Emerald Damselfly Chalcolestes viridis which was first spotted on the Heath in 2018 during a dragonfly monitoring survey and has since spread across the ponds.
The surveys have already found that dragonflies have increased in some of the ponds fsince the Ponds Project, including in ponds that did not support any breeding dragonflies beforehand. We will continue this Monitoring Programme to provide a long-term dataset for dragonflies on Hampstead Heath. To get involved in our Wildlife Monitoring projects click here.