If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

My photo

I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

19 August, 2010

Common Hawker (Aeshna juncea)

Late summer is the best time of year for dragonflies. There seem to be more of them about in late August and September and, in particular it is the best time to see 'hawker' dragonflies.
Hawkers derive this collective name from the way the species in the family fly around their territory almost continuously, just occasionally resting. They defend their territory fearlessly and will even approach human beings who enter their patch to check them out! Whilst that can be a bit disconcerting the dragonfly is, of course, totally harmless to people. This 'hawking' seems to form two purposes, the same to driving forces behind all of nature; one is food and the other reproduction.They are hunting for food and hunting for a mate!
The tricky bit with hawkers is telling the species apart because of this constant movement but we ttend to have three here in Dorset, the most common is the Southern Hawker, and the rarest is the Migrant Hawker. The third species is the Common Hawker and, peversely, is not the most common.
If the insect looks green and/or blue then it is probably the Southern Hawker and most will be. If it is brown and blue it is the Common Hawker and if it looks brown/black then it is probably Migrant Hawker but you really do need to see them at rest like this to be certain.