On a bright, clear morning the slow-witted naturalist has a chance at a half-decent photograph because the temperature is dropping.
As the year progresses, the remaining dragonflies are slowing up, getting up later, flying less frenetically and sitting around more — low in a bush in the morning sun, trying to warm up.
The only other chance is very early in the morning or shortly after they have emerged, as Tennyson wrote,
“…An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;”
The broad bodied chaser is common around our little pond in Mid-Wales — appearing early in the summer and active for a long time. The southern hawker is more dramatic and is aggressive, indulging in arial skirmishes with intruding males along the closely guarded stream-side territory along which he patrols. Passing by every few minutes, easily seen but almost impossible to photograph. “A living flash of light…”
I do my best!
The southern hawker (above) looks so alien with his “plates of sapphire mail” — it is only the fact of scale that prevents me running from this sci-fi inter-stellar gunship as he casts his sinister shadow then disappears in a flash to another dimension.
This pristine brown hawker was drying his wings at Woodwalton fen last summer.
Not to be confused with this rare bird!
We spotted him at Hickling broad this year while we were looking for swallowtail butterflies.