The Black Darter
The Black Darter is basically a northern species with a few areas of habitation in the south and the west. It is absent from large parts of the midlands.
As with all darters in the southern half of the United Kingdom, this is a mid to late season dragonfly. It can be seen from early July until mid to late September. It is at its best however in late July and August having reached full maturity.
As its name suggests the mature male is virtually completely black with only a few yellow patches on its flanks. The female is predominently yellow in colour with black underparts.
They tend to prefer boggy and shallow sites with plenty of dense low emergent vegetation on which they like to bask in the sun's warmth. Open heath is ideal for this dragonfly where there is little or no shade.
The Black Darter is a very active little dragonfly. It is fond of perching on top of long grassy stems or similar vegetation. If disturbed it will fly a short distance before settling again nearby.
As with all darters and skimmers when at rest it perches with its wings pushed forwards at about 45 degrees. This can create problems for the photographer which are discussed more fully below.