Thursday, 8 September 2011

Migrant Hawkers

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had a few brief encounters with dragonflies that I’ve assumed to be Migrant Hawker - and this is despite the fact that I visit Ayrshire only rarely nowadays. However, other than one I watched at some length a couple of years ago in Stevenston, I’ve always written these sightings off as ‘maybes’. However, on Tuesday I was totally convinced that a small Hawker hunting along the woodland edge at Ardeer Quarry LNR was a Migrant Hawker. The next day, whilst birding at Garnock East, I was pretty sure I saw at least one other individual hawking high around a Willow tree before shooting off through the wood. It got to the point where I thought that either Migrant Hawker is not that uncommon in Ayrshire or I’m having serious trouble with my dragonfly IDs.

So today I ventured out to Garnock East armed with net. A break in the clouds brought out a few Common Hawkers and a few dozen Common Darters. After two suspected Migrant Hawkers evaded capture, I found one individual hawking at the edge of a conifer plantation, occasionally crossing paths with a couple of aggressive (and noticeably larger) Common Hawkers. I eventually managed to net the dragonfly to confirm my suspicions - it was indeed a Migrant Hawker.

I suspect that Migrant Hawker really isn’t that unusual in Ayrshire - at least not nearly as rare as the NBN distribution map suggests.