Although I’d seen a Southern hawker dragonfly (Aeshna cyanea) once before, I hadn’t managed to get any good photos until I spotted this little beauty while on an outing to Lewes in East Sussex during last week’s holiday. Though the spot where she settled meant she was slightly obscured by vegetation, she very obligingly stayed put while I got several shots.
At around 70mm (2¾ inches) long, Southern hawkers are reasonably large creatures, and my research tells me they can be very inquisitive, sometimes flying right up to the people watching them to check them out. I’ve yet to see a male but imagine them to be rather handsome as they have vivid blue and green colouring with similar dark patterning to the female.
Neither of the Southern hawkers I’ve seen was near water and this is quite common, apparently. Though they need well-vegetated ponds in which to lay their eggs, they can often be seen hawking for food along tree-lined paths and woodland rides. These dragonflies are common in southern parts of England and Wales, hence the name Southern hawker.