Monday, 17 July 2017

Common Hawker male in flight

A small pool on Titterstone Clee produced an obliging male Common Hawker dragonfly! Regularly patrolling a regular beat - here he comes in direct flight. All the images taken at 1/1250sec show how the wing motion changes in different modes of flight!

Note the wings are a blur and beating pretty much synchronised in this first image...

The yellow stripes immediately rule out Southern Hawker and yellow leading edge to the wings (clearly visible) is diagnostic for Common Hawker. Migrant Hawker is effectively excluded (its obviously smaller in the field anyway) and there are other subtle differences on the abdomen.

Pausing for a hover! Recent research has shown when hovering, they beat their wings at the same rate but the front and back pair are slightly out of synch or phase. The wings are less blurred as the flap rate is reduced - it's all part of an energy saving strategy...

Off he goes again with some close side on opportunities and the wing blur is back!

Gotta be the favourite angle with a 'topside' view of the thorax /abdomen. Whilst there is a blue form of the female in Common Hawker, the 'waisted' end of the abdomen closest to the thorax shows it's a male!

Always wary and exceptionally inquisitive (unlike Southern Hawkers) they don't come much closer than this!

I must have watched it for 40 minutes or so and was in the general area for much longer! With aerial agility unparalleled, it munched several small bugs, eating them on the wing -  I never saw it land! Come on, 'isn't nature wonderful'!! I suppose the nearest 'we' can do is make a helicopter!