by Wendy and Pete Taylor, with photographs by Steve Davies

On 1st September 2019, we had a day birding at Goldcliff looking for waders, concentrating mainly on the Little Stints. It was fairly windy, and a few dragonflies were on the Blackthorn behind the Lapwing hide, which provided a sheltered spot. Migrant Hawkers (Aeshna mixta) were present in fairly good numbers; we noticed a hawker with a brighter blue body and eyes and this made us look at the features more carefully. We were very happy that it was a Southern Migrant hawker (Aeshna affinis), a dragonfly we had seen in Somerset a year previously, and managed to point it out for others to photograph. Its flight was repetitive, and it often hovered at face height, enabling its distinctive patterning to be observed. Its field characters included a vibrant blue body and eyes; when perched the blue abdominal segments could be observed. It had a marginally slimmer body than Migrant Hawker. Steve Davies was one of the observers we showed it to and he obtained the excellent photos accompanying this note.

[This was the second Monmouthshire record, following very quickly after the first, at Llandegfedd reservoir, earlier the same year. – Steve Preddy]

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