Friday, 31 July 2015

Hawker

This morning's walk, took us along the old West Hallam Railway tracks and what we like to refer to as the 'Farm Walk'.  The wild flowers along the old railway lines, are superb now, but it was what was sitting on one of the Creeping Thistle flowers, that caught my attention. A Southern Hawker Dragonfly (Aeshna cyanea).
One of the most common species of Dragonfly in the UK, this is an impressive animal, measuring about 3" long, with various pale blue spots and stripes on its abdomen.
This specimen was looking a little worse for wear as it was missing part of its left-hand, rear wing, probably as the result of an encounter with a predator of some kind.  It was also rather lethargic and unwilling to take to the air, even as I pointed my camera closer to it.
Despite seeming to have a  'smiling' face, they are fearsome predators, catching other insect species on the wing as an adult and, as a nymph, feeding on tadpoles and other water-born invertebrates. Truly a Dragon if ever there was one - but still rather beautiful.
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