Hunting Hawkers at Ramsdown

On Thursday I returned to Ramsdown full of hope. The first pond had a few more puddles after the recent rain yet the pond at the base of the hillock was bone dry!

The clearing showed a couple of twitchy Southern, the inevitable Brown Hawker rising in panic at my passing and the expected Migrant Hawkers.

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) - immature female
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) – immature female

At my favourite pond a Moorland Hawker gave me the most frustrating challenge by refusing to keep to a regular patrol. |This wasn’t helped by the presence of a particularly aggressive Emperor who drove him off at every opportunity.

Moorland (Common) Hawker (Aeshna juncea) - male
Moorland (Common) Hawker (Aeshna juncea) – male

Azure and Emerald Damselflies and a single Black Darter kept the interest and a female Emperor flew in to try to oviposit under the harassment of the patrolling male.

A Broad-bodied Chaser still held court at his favourite perch, occasionally flying out to do battle with one of the many Common Darters.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) - male
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) – male

The sound of fluttering wings alerted me to the presence of a female Southern Hawker ovipositing deep down under cover into the muddy bank before rising up, circling me and settling down on a patch of heather.

Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) - female
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) – female

After a brief rest she continued laying her eggs in hard to reach places until she decided upon a log, which offered a better opportunity.

Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) - female
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) – female

As there was no sign of the Moorland returning I decided to camp out for an hour at the other pond just in case a male, or indeed female flew in, but it was not to be. However it was pleasant to observe the many Migrant Hawkers feeding along the treeline.

I had hoped for a male Southern to come in for a patrol, but I’ll have to wait until next time. Best not become too entitled, eh?