A Southern Hawker dragonfly basking in the park this afternoon.

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Comment by Des Bowring on August 29, 2014 at 14:45

Thanks for the interesting explanation, Simon. I often see this species in woodland rides well away from water. Obviously well-travelled individuals!

Comment by Simon Randolph on August 27, 2014 at 6:45

The short answer, Des, is , 'Don't know'. Surprisingly little (or perhaps not surprisingly, given tracking of individuals is not easy!) is known about localised dragonfly movements. Southern Hawker adults of both sexes will fly in areas well away from their original emergence sites, choosing woodland or even gardens as places to hunt for insects. Once a male has discovered a suitable potential territory in a preferred  aquatic situation like a pond, lake or canal, it will tend to develop site fidelity, whereby it patrols this chosen territory on a regular basis (though this attachment to a specific area will be in part dependent on the occurence and density of other males in the area).

  A study of a male Southern Hawker using a small pond as its territory, found that it visited it one to eight times a day on 26 out of the 33 days it was studied, each visit lasting up to 40 minutes.

However, what it did in the unobserved intervals between the visits is not known. It is fair to speculate that much of the non - visit time was spent in food searching away from the territory site. But whether it would also still be tempted to briefly survey other potential territories of nearby (or even further afield) ponds during this time is also unknown, though probably unlikely. However, there must be a period between emergence and the final selection of a territory when a male may well wander quite far and wide (but don't ask me to suggest distances!) checking out potential sites suitable for establishing a territory.

Comment by Des Bowring on August 11, 2014 at 22:10

Thanks Simon. Would it travel considerable distances then, presumably to look for a female?

Comment by Simon Randolph on August 10, 2014 at 17:04

Lovely close up Des. This just could be the same male that has been flying round my garden pond the last couple of days!

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