A Southern Hawker dragonfly

I found this Southern Hawker dragonfly basking in my garden yesterday. It is a common species in Devon and on Dartmoor.

Southern Hawker 1
This is an immature male – mature individuals have blue markings at the base of the abdomen. You can tell it is a male because of the configuration of the anal appendages.

Southern Hawker 3Note the yellow triangle at the base of the abdomen beside the two anal appendages – females lack this

Southern Hawker 2
Here is a close up of the wing venation

The Southern Hawker mystery

Over the past few weeks a number of Southern Hawker dragonflies have been found dead at the entrance to the Devon and Exeter Squash and Racketball Club in Exeter.

Southern hawker 1
Here is one I photographed over a week ago – I didn’t think much of it at the time until I heard another half a dozen had also been found in the same place.

Southern hawker 2
Here is another one – much fresher – the colours haven’t faded yet.

D&E1
Here is the entrance to the Squash Club – the dragonflies were found near the DE/SR sign at the entrance
A bit of a mystery ….

D&E2
My theory is that the dragonflies were drawn into the corridor as the lights had attracted various small flies and midges – their prey. Once they had fed on the flies they tried to leave by flying up to the glass window above the lights – they couldn’t get through and eventually ran out of puff and fell to the ground and died.

Never come across this before and fortunately seems to have stopped now.