Moorland (Common) Hawker (Aeshna juncea)
A large (65-80mm) hawker preferring moorland and mountain pools. Scarce in Hampshire but an occasional visitor to the New Forest where it can be found patrolling shallow acid ponds.

Males either circle at chest height far from the bank or low down close to shore, frequently investigating nooks & crannies for any present females. Often seen in large numbers at Priddy Mineries in Somerset, seemingly tolerant of one another. In the New Forest it is rare to find more than one on a pond and are frequently driven off by any present Emperor.

Females are very nervous and will scout a pond from a great height, taking up to half-an-hour before deciding to descend to oviposit. During ovipositing they are easily disturbed by human or any other mammal presence or other inquisitive dragonflies. When disturbed they either fly off completely or stay hidden in the reeds completely still.

Pairings can be an aggressive affair with males even going so far as to dunk the poor female into submission. On one occasion at Priddy we watched as a male pursued an uninterested female, ignoring her protests before finally knocking her to the ground where she remained in a state of suspended animation while the male tried to locate her from above.

Can frequently be seen hawking rides and woodland clearings late into the afternoon.
19 photos · 50 views