Southern migrant hawker dragonflies recorded for the first time in Dorset

Southern Migrant Hawker © Hamish Murray

The first Southern migrant hawker dragonflies ever recorded in Dorset have been seen on Dorset Wildlife Trust’s (DWT’s) Lytchett Bay Nature Reserve, which is part of The Great Heath Living Landscape project in east Dorset.

Three males have been seen in the area, where they were first discovered by local birdwatcher, Ian Ballam.

Ian said, “Lytchett Bay is my ‘patch’ for birding, but in summer I also record dragonflies.  I was making a quick visit to the DWT reserve at Lytchett Bay on Saturday 21st July and as soon as I arrived at the main "dried-up" pool I noticed a bright blue small Hawker type dragonfly.  Then I noticed another exactly the same on an adjacent pool.  They were extremely aggressive to eachother which pointed towards the behaviour of the southern migrant hawker.  In the end, I spotted three.  I was elated to have found them and even more happy that I manged to identify this tricky species from just flight observations, and after about 90 minutes one came to rest on some reeds so I could confirm my ID was correct.”

DWT Conservation Officer, Hamish Murray said, “This is a great sighting for Dorset. This largely Mediterranean species was formerly a very rare visitor to the UK but since 2006, sightings have increased, especially in the South-east of England, and is now considered to be a potential colonist.  The warmer weather we’ve been having may have attracted them to the south coast, as they are used to living in warm conditions found in Europe and Asia.”

The southern migrant hawker is also called the blue-eye hawker, on account of its blue eyes.  The overall appearance of the male Southern migrant hawker is much bluer than the more common migrant hawker

If you see a southern migrant hawker in Dorset, please let Dorset Wildlife Trust know. You can tweet us @DorsetWildlife, post on our facebook page (facebook/dorsetwildlife) or email on enquiries@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.

Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life

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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living.  Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 27,000 members and 44 nature reserves.  Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, The Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows nature reserve and the Kingcombe Centre, Brownsea Island Nature Reserve, The Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve.  DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas. Dorset Wildlife Trust registered charity number: 200222.

The Great Heath Living Landscape ­ an Urban Living Landscape in Dorset delivers the following exciting objectives:

To provide enhanced opportunities for visitors and local residents to enjoy and learn about the area's fantastic natural heritage
To improve physical access to local green space close to high density urban areas
To develop relationships with local landowners in order to enhance conservation management of land in private ownership and to open up access to more greenspace in the area.
To provide increased involvement and volunteering opportunities for people in a variety of wildlife habitats on the urban margin
To improve access to the marine environment on the fringes of Poole Harbour to improve its conservation value and increase public awareness and enjoyment
Sites include land at Hampreston and High Mead Lane, Award Road, Ferndown Common, Delph Wood, Arrowsmith Copse, Dunyeats Hill, Corfe Lodge Road, Upton Heath, Beacon Hill, Cottage Farm (Happy Bottom), Ashington Paddock, Barrow Hill, Wimborne Road, Rushcombe Bottom, Parley Common, Tricketts Cross, Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay.

The full Great Heath Living Landscape project cost was £4.7 million, we secured £2 million and were awarded £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and need to raise further funds by public appeal.

The Great Heath Living Landscape is a partnership project involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Erica Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council Countryside Service, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.  Partners also include Bournemouth Borough Council, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils and Natural England.

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 36,000 projects with £6bn across the UK. For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.