Dragonflies are so exciting, especially the hawker family; they are colourful, large and imposing insects. They are also quite inquisitive and will approach people entering their territory for a closer look! You just cannot ignore one; in my view, you just have to look and marvel.
In Dorset there are five resident species of hawker dragonfly; the southern, the migrant, the brown, the common and the hairy. The sexes of each differ so there are various subtle differences to get to know when trying to identify them. The southern hawker (Aeshna cyanea) is undoubtedly the most common of these five species in Dorset and we frequently have one in our garden in summer and so they are often encountered elsewhere. The male has a mainly blue appearance whereas the female is more greenish. The main distinguishing feature, however, are the two yellow patches on the first segment behind the head. Being blue the male is often mistaken for the emperor dragonfly.
The southern hawker is a strong flier and can be encountered almost anywhere, in all sorts of weather, and any time from June through to October. It lays its eggs in well vegetated ponds and lakes, especially those with trees nearby.