Saturday, 4 September 2010

DRAGONFLY: Southern Hawkers and Common Hawkers near Burnley, Lancashire

September 2/3, 2010:
A small isolated wooded pool close to the Pennine moorland had at least three species of Hawker flying today. The conditions were ideal for dragonflies, windless and very warm in the sheltered hollow amongst the trees. A female Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) attempted to oviposit (below) onto a desiccated log well above water-level and repeatedly changed position in trying to find an acceptable site.

Males also patrolled the area (below), regularly buzzing any observer whilst a Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) was seen ovipositing on floating weed but this was on the far side of the pool and out of camera range.

[A patrolling Southern Hawker]

Common Hawkers (Aeshna juncea) were also flying and a bonus came when one settled on the trunk of a nearby pine. At first photographed at long range, it was soon possible to approach extremely closely and even then it didn’t fly, only doing so later to pursue a male which had invaded its territory. Seen against the rough bark of the tree, it was well camouflaged and presumably it knew that.

[Common Hawker]

[The dragonfly pool with a light mist rising]

Several Common Darters (Sympetrum striolatum) were also seen as well as numerous Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterflies. Thanks are due to Allen Holmes for details of this site.


  1. Looks like your flying Southern Hawker is just about to defecate!

    Would this pool be within a reasonable walking distance of any of the Burnley train stations? I've never been to any East Lancashire sites yet, and a bit more variety wouldn't hurt me.

    P.S. I have a dragonfly photo blog at

  2. Colin, please place your email address here and I'll get back to you about this locality.