Regular blog readers will know I am lucky enough to frequent a place that last year had daily sightings of the recently colonising Southern migrant hawker Aeshna affinis, in fact its possible I spent more time than anyone else observing them last year. A month or 2 ago I was emailed about them by James Lowen who wrote an article in BBC wildlife Magazine and hewas kind enough to mention me in it. Since the magazine was published folk have been contacting me asking if they were about. Well….
Today at Wat Tyler Country Park Dave Donning, a volunteer for the RSPB, popped in and told me he had seen at 4pm yesterday (Thurs) what he was 99% sure was a southern migrant hawker. At 2pm I was finally free to go look myself and found Dave Gonning pointing out this beauty.
The sun didn’t really make it out from behind the cloud, so I was using ISO 400 to 800 and a large aperture (about f5.0 to 6.3) to try get the shutter speed up. Manged ok considering the conditions I reckon.
If you are heading down I suggest you take a look at this post I wrote last year: here. It features a map of the sightings from last year (see here) The 2 males seen today were around point 2 and 7 on the map.
The car park at Wat Tyler Country Park will pretty much fill up by 11am so best arrive earlier if possible.
The dragonflies were seen at RSPB West Canvey Marshes and RSPB Rainham Marshes last year too, so if you are heading there or to any Thames estuary, it will be worth looking out for a blue eyed hawker.
If you do see any Southern migrant hawkers in the park (or elsewhere in Essex/the UK) please let me know either here, or on Twitter ( @UK_wildlife ) or the UK wildlife fan page
with any interesting observations as I will be writing something up on them, with the sightings and observations combined with what I was sent last year.