Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly recorded on iNaturalistUK

Article written by John Roberts, Cheshire Dragonflies County Recorder

Many amateur naturalists are probably unclear what exactly happens to their nature records once they have been submitted on the extremely popular and well-respected iNaturalist platform. In the case of Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) these records are automatically forwarded to the iRecord recording system which is where all Odonata records are halted before checking. There, the appropriate County Dragonfly Recorder checks all aspects of the record and accompanying photo(s) for accuracy and then verifies it. Once “approved” the record is then transmitted through to the NBN Atlas where it, and thousands of other records, can be examined by the public.

A recent case exemplifies this when a local recorder photographed an unusually coloured damselfly at the Moore Nature Reserve near Warrington. They recorded the sighting on iNaturalistUK which was then transmitted to myself, as the Cheshire Dragonfly Recorder who spotted that this particular damselfly was indeed a bit of a rarity. In fact, it was a female Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly of which only one other colony is known in Cheshire, about 30 miles away. With the help of Giselle Sterry, the lead for iNaturalistUK, the original recorder was contacted for more details of the sighting and a small team of recorders has now been assembled in order to establish if this was an isolated sighting or if, in fact, a new colony of these beautiful little creatures has established itself at the reserve. Thanks to a single record which was originally placed on iNaturalistUK, a chain of actions has been initiated which may ultimately lead to an exciting conclusion.

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