Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica)
A moderately sized (48mm)dragonfly superficially similar to Downy Emerald but with a more obvious metallic green body and apple green eyes.

Nationally rare and restricted to a few local areas in the highlands of Scotland and a small band of central southern England.. Preferring still water or slow flowing habitats near deciduous woodland.

Males have a surprisingly varied flight behaviour. Most books and observations state they fly low down close to shore, usually in the darkest reaches of a pond. This was certainly the case on at Warren Heath. The male would repeatedly patrol a length of shore, checking out every nook & cranny for females.

On a previous occasion at Thursley Common they would fly about 3 meters above the water far from shore. At Ashurst Forest I observed one male patrolling several meters above a stream and clearing, hunting in a zigzag pattern.

My last encounter at Bramshill Common was a male patrolling a small pond in much the same way as a Downy Emerald; about a meter above the water zigzagging across the whole of the pond. This behaviour was also observed at a smal pond in Ashurst Forest the year before.

There is also a suggestion that they don't perch during their patrol, yet |I have witnessed males perching on bank-side vegetation at all locations.

Females on the other hand have so far eluded me, although the books state they prefer to oviposit under shady, steep banks - a behaviour backed up by the behaviour of searching males.

Both sexes can be found away from water when maturing and hunting, often perching to take rest on gorse, fern or tree trunks.
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