Thursday, 31 July 2014

Blue Eyed Boy Makes My Day!

After dropping the family off at the beach with some friends about 10.30am this morning I headed over to Nethergong campsite where the plan was to have a wander around and maybe try to find some dragonfly and damselfly larvae in the shallow ponds. After speaking to the owners I made my way off in the sunshine where I had a good few hours photographing and looking at dragonflies. As I walked up the main path a Migrant Hawker was on the wing but I made my way to a ditch where I had a patrolling Brown Hawker the other day and hoped it would still be there and maybe a chance to capture a photo of this camera shy species. On arrival I could see a large Dragonfly flying up and down but this was an immature male Southern Hawker. I don't have many shots of this species so set about trying to capture a flight shot. I only had a few gaps in the reeds to work with but I managed a few shots and a couple turned out not too bad.

Immature Male Southern Hawker

As I watched the Hawker I noticed a small Hawker appear in the ditch and as it flew past I was amazed to see bright blue eyes and a blue abdomen. I straight away new this was a male SOUTHERN MIGRANT HAWKER, a rare dragonfly in this country and a Mega species for East Kent, is this the first I wonder? I have never seen this species before but have been told by others if I saw a male I would know straight away. I was lucky that it flew low down against the reeds making the dragonfly stand out well and how well those bright blue eyes stood out. A few seconds later and it was chased off by the Southern Hawker and gained height and was lost to view. I waited around hoping it would return and despite spending the next two hours walking around checking dykes and ditches I failed to refind it. I later returned to the original ditch where there was now a male Migrant Hawker flying around and it was good to see how different these two species can be and that I had not gone mad. I saw a few more Migrant Hawkers and checked them all but nothing stood out at all. I wonder where this individual has come from and perhaps they are slowly spreading, are more individuals out there and that not many people are looking for them, time will tell I suppose. Although I didn't get a chance of a photo, I at least have a visual memory of the occasion and maybe I will get my chance with this species one year. After the excitement and walking around other species seen today included 3 Brown Hawker, 3 Black tailed Skimmer, 1 Broad bodied Chaser in very good condition still which provided a photo opportunity, quite a few Common Darter with a few Ruddy Darter, 2 Emperor Dragonfly, c20 Banded Demoiselle and lots of Common Blue and Blue tailed Damselfly.

Male Broad bodied Chaser

This evening I spent and hour trying to photograph Brown Hawkers again at Westbere Lakes but despite seeing c6, none posed and when one did catch a female Banded Demoiselle if flew high up into a tree to have its dinner. Anyway a brilliant day with a new species seen being the Southern Migrant Hawker and a few shots in the session. I am camping with family and friends at Nethergong over the weekend and so weather permitting I shall be able to grab an hour or so to see if the blue eyed beauty can be found again.


  1. Well done finding a Southern Migrant Hawker Marc, shame you couldn't relocate it. I saw one at Cliffe last year with Terry Laws but that's the only one.
    Brown Hawkers frustrate the hell out of me. Every time I go out I disturb resting individuals before I spot them and they never return to the same spot.
    For some reason your blog disappeared from my sidebar, I've only just noticed and reinstated it. Keep up the great work!

  2. Good luck with the SMH this weekend Marc, a species i'd dearly love to see! Ive not seen one mature male BBC here this year, a shame :-(