Southern Migrant Hawkers at Goldcliff and Uskmouth in 2023, the third and fourth county records

by Phil James and Tom Chinnick

Phil James found the county’s third Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) at Goldcliff on 16 August 2023. Phil posted his images to the iNaturalist website, where others concurred with his identification. Adrian Parr has pointed out that the individual was a female of the blue morph, which resembles males, and had not previously been recorded in Britain.

Then, on 27 August, Tom Chinnick found a second individual, at Uskmouth. Tom describes the circumstances of his find:

“Sunday 27th August was a nice fine day, and we arrived as a family at Newport Wetlands reserve, Uskmouth at around midday. I wasn’t particularly overly optimistic of seeing any interesting birdlife. On returning down the ramp to the reserve car park, a hawker was actively feeding, and it alighted on brambles and Hawthorns in the hedge. I fired off a few pictures with my still relatively new upgraded camera the Canon R6 with a 100-500mm lens, and I also observed the Dragonfly through my binoculars. The pictures confirmed my initial suspicion that the Hawker looked like a male Migrant Hawker (A. mixta) but seemed very bright in colouration, with bright blue eyes. I’m no dragonfly expert but I did suspect Southern Migrant Hawker (which I’m aware had been increasingly recorded in Wales). Once home I quickly sent a few images across to some friends including Steve Preddy, the county dragonfly recorder, and the ID was soon confirmed.”

Photos of both of these individuals are below.

[The two previous records of Southern Migrant Hawker also occurred in the same year, 2019: the second of these was also at Goldcliff, and the first at Llandegfedd reservoir. With increasing number of records from sites in western England, it is likely that this species will occur more regularly here in future. Steve Preddy.]

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