Findings01Stan Olson surveyed odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) in Surrey, BC at Kingfisher Farm in 2007 to 2010 and at A Rocha’s Brooksdale Environmental Centre from 2007 to 2015. We report three broad findings for the period 2007 to 2014: the species recorded, their relative abundance and their seasonal chronology. Odonates can be challenging to identify and for some species the individual must be in-hand to be identified accurately. Findings are reported for positive identifications only.

The list of species recorded includes some away from ponds at Brooksdale or Kingfisher Farm but seen during surveys conducted by Corey Bunnell or Anthea Farr as part of the evaluation of Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy or in south Langley, BC.

Click here to learn more about odonates!

Dragonflies and damselflies recorded at Brooksdale, Kingfisher farm or nearby

Records from Brooksdale and Kingfisher Farm are from Stan Olson. Species marked * are from surveys nearby by Corey Bunnell and Anthea Farr. Rank is the conservation priority within British Columbia’s Conservation Framework. Lower values represent greater urgency in conservation actions, with 1 representing the highest conservation priority and 6 representing the lowest. Rankings of 6 are not shown. Three species are blue-listed in BC – marked blue; none are red-listed.



Western red damsel  (Amphiagrion abbreviatum)*      5
Spotted spreadwing  (Lestes congener)
Northern spreadwing (Lestes disjunctus)
Tule bluet    (Enallagma carunculatum)
Boreal bluet    (Enallagma boreale)
Northern bluet    (Enallagma annexum)
Pacific forktail  (Ischnura cervula)
Swift forktail  (Ischnura erratica)
Western forktail  (Ischnura perparva)


Western forktail damselfly

Western forktail damselfly



Lake darner  (Aeshna eremita)
Variable darner  (Aeshna interrupta)
Canada darner  (Aeshna canadensis)
Paddle-tailed darner (Aeshna palmata)
Shadow darner  (Aeshna umbrosa)
California darner  (Rhionaeschna californica)
Blue-eyed darner  (Rhionaeschna multicolor)
Common green darner  (Anax junius)
Beaverpond baskettail  (Epitheca canis)      4
American emerald    (Cordulia shurtleffii)  
Common whitetail  (Plathemis lydia)      5
Four-spotted skimmer (Libellula quadrimaculata)  
Eight-spotted skimmer  (Libellula forensis)  
Hudsonian Whiteface (Leucorrhinia hudsonica)  
Western pondhawk  (Erythemis collocata)      2
Blue dasher  (Pachydiplax longipennis)      4
Cardinal meadowhawk  (Sympetrum illotum)      5
Red-veined meadowhawk  (Sympetrum madidum)      4
Autumn meadowhawk  (Sympetrum vicinum)      4
Saffron-winged meadowhawk  (Sympetrum costiferum)  
Cherry-faced meadowhawk  (Sympetrum internum)  
Variegated meadowhawk  (Sympetrum corruptum) *
White-faced meadowhawk  (Sympetrum obtrusum)
Striped meadowhawk  (Sympetrum pallipes)
Dot-tailed whiteface    (Leucorrhinia intacta)
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Eight-spotted skimmer Blue-eyed darner

The odonate community is diverse, but not all species are equally represented. Samples from Brooksdale and Kingfisher Farm did not differ in relative frequency and are combined. Graphs below show number of days a species was observed. Attempting to count individuals on any specific day could lead to madness – they don’t stay still and can cover considerable ground.



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Spotted spreadwing Autumn meadowhawk



There are more dragonfly than damselfly species. Relative abundance is illustrated for the 11 most common dragonflies and all damselflies. Some odonates are notoriously difficult to identify and make matters more challenging by having different coloured sexes and changing colour as they age. Some can only be identified confidently when in-hand, which reduces the fun of watching their aerial majesty. You can, however, watch their hunting prowess and mating gymnastics without knowing who they are. Only positive identifications are included in the graphs.

Odonates not only differ in relative abundance, but their short adult lives are not lived during the same months. The graphs following show the relative abundance of different species during different months.


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The four species graphed above show a gradual progression from none in September to presence through October. Naturally, there are extremes.

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Baskettails are named for the ‘basket’ of eggs females carry on their abdomen. Farther north in BC they have been recorded from June and even early July. Chances of them encountering the aptly named autumn meadowhawk (also called the yellow-legged meadowhawk) are slim. We don’t understand the reasons for extremes in flight period, but it obviously works for the odonates. There are two advantages to us. First, we don’t enjoy some of their prey – deerflies, blackflies and mosquitos, so appreciate efficient predators preying on those species for as long as possible. Second, we get to watch one of nature’s most efficient aerial predators, often brightly coloured, from May through October.



Stan Olson – Brooksdale and Kingfisher surveys


Corey Bunnell – photos, nearby surveys and analyses


Anthea Farr – photos, nearby surveys


Fred Bunnell – text and analyses, irregular survey participant