A medium-sized hawker dragonfly, so-called because of its tendency to population movements in good weather. The male resembles other blue-spotted species, and is most readily recognised by a combination of the yellow ‘golf-tee’ mark just behind the base of the wings, and the reduced stripes on the top of its mid brown thorax. Females and immatures are a dull grey-brown on the abdomen. More sociable and non-aggressive than other hawkers, the Migrant may occur in some abundance at any one site; it tends to perch more often than its larger relatives, hanging vertically on vegetation.
Migrant Hawkers breed in a variety of lowland waters, including water-filled ditches, especially when these have thick marginal and emergent vegetation. Sheltered, warm sites are required for the fast (one-year) larval development. Adults are often seen well away from water, along hedges and forest rides. The British range has extended markedly over the past 50 years or so and the species is now seen throughout most of England and Wales.
The Migrant Hawker is a late summer species, not usually emerging before late July. It may be on the wing until October or even November in mild autumns. There are no Cumbria records before c.1999. Since then it has been regularly seen in the extreme south, and usually not far from the coast. The good summer of 2003 resulted in many sightings near the Solway Firth, and the highest annual numbers to date. It is not yet been proved to breed in the county, though pairing has been noted.
Photo: mating pair, male above - Paul Kennedy, 2006
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