This is probably the commonest and most widespread of the dragonflies in the New Forest and will be seen almost anywhere. It is also widespread and common throughout most of the UK except northern England and southern Scotland.
Common darters breed in still waters of any size, and are seen just about anywhere except in dark woodlands. A walk in any open, sunny part of the New Forest will produce this species, often in quite high numbers, at any time from late July through to the end of October. This is the latest species to be seen on the wing and can sometimes be spotted in December; in fact they only die off when cold weather kills the small insects that they feed on. So the milder the winter, the longer you will see common darters.
Photo credit: Simon Curson