How can you tell a Dragonfly from a Damselfly? Dragons at rest always hold their wings at a right-angle to their bodies, while damsels always fold their wings back along their bodies.
Sadly though, you won’t always be able to see them when they’ve landed, most often they are buzzing around at lightening speed – so another rough rule of thumb is that if it is small it will be a Damsel, if it is larger it is a Dragon – and if it is away from water it will be a Dragon too. But as I say, that is a very rough guide; observing their wings at rest is accurate.
Above is the Common Darter; right is what is probably a more juvenile, freshly-emerged Common Darter, because it has more green on it, and its body hadn't yet taken on the deeper red tone.
The tawny tones and warm browns of this male Migrant Hawker, left, make it hard to spot when it is at rest, and even the soft sky-blue on its body doesn't give it away.
Fantastically disguised while resting amongst twigs and dead leaves, the Norfolk Hawker, right, is a sight to see when in flight.
The eye-catching, jewel-like red of the Ruddy Darter, left and below, is truly stunning.