New dragonfly hotspot in Aberdeen

A nature reserve in Aberdeen has been designated as a Dragonfly Hotspot in Scotland.

Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve, which is run by Aberdeen City Council and managed by the ACC Ranger Service, is the only place in the city to be officially recognised by the British Dragonfly Society. It is also the Society's most northerly Dragonfly Hotspot.

Aberdeen City Council Communities, Housing and Infrastructure Convener Councillor Neil Cooney said: "It is great news that Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve is now an official Hotspot for dragonfly-spotting.

"We have an abundance of places around the city for spotting different types of wildlife – ranging from dolphins to red squirrels to birds of prey – and it is good to have Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve officially recognised as one of these."

Dragonflies are powerful and agile fliers, capable of migrating across oceans, moving in any direction and changing direction suddenly. In flight, the adult dragonfly can propel itself in six directions: upward, downward, forward, back, to the left and to the right. Large dragonflies can reach a maximum speed of 10–15 metres per second (22–34 mph), and the species live in wetland habitat such as rivers or bogs They are symbols of courage, strength and happiness in Japan, but are regarded as sinister in European folklore.

Daniele Muir, Scotland Officer with the British Dragonfly Society, said 'Scotstown Moor LNR is one of the best places in the city to spot dragonflies.

"On a guided walk we're having, I would hope we'll see at least five different species and we'll look at the best ways to tell them apart and how easy it is to record your dragonfly sightings. Dragonflies are beautiful insects that have been around since before the dinosaurs and I'm really pleased to be working with ACC's Ranger Service at this Dragonfly Hotspot.'

The designation means special events are to be held at the Nature Reserve to enable people to spot and identify the beautifully-coloured insects, and help make the reserve an even better habitat for dragonflies, with practical pond-management tasks planned for the autumn and winter.

The guided walk event is being held at Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve on Friday (7 August) from 1pm to 3pm, with City Council Countryside Ranger Simon Whitworth and Daniele Muir.

The event will cover the identification and ecology of the species found on the reserve, along with the folklore that surrounds these amazing insects. Types of these creatures which can be found at Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve include Black Darters, Common Hawkers, Emerald Damselflies, Azure Damselflies and Common Blue Damselflies.

Numbers are limited so places should be booked by contacting Aberdeen City Council Ranger Service on 01224 897400 or email lochinch@aberdeencity.gov.uk. Meet at 1pm at the Scotstown Moor car park on Scotstown Rd, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, grid ref NJ933117. Participants are asked to wear sturdy shoes/boots and bring binoculars if they have them. The walk will cover approx two miles so the event is suitable for children over the age of 10.

More information about dragonflies and the BDS is available from the website www.british-dragonflies.org.uk.