Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Prestwick Southern Hawker

I had to go up to Ponteland this morning to the cattery and called past Prestwick Carr for the first time in quite a while. Although it was dry and bright there was a definite chill in the wind. A day for birds only, i thought to myself but within a short time i wished i had my macro lens. On arrival i had a Chiffchaff immediately, the only one as it happens. As i walked the track up to the sentry box above me on both sides were dozens of Swallows feeding relatively high. In the hedgerow to my right two young Goldfinches fluttered their wings at their parent making plenty of noise as they did so. In the horses field to my left on the only piece of sodden ground seven Pied Wagtails made their prescence known along with two juvenile Meadow Pipits. Three Buzzards, as expected, mewed and circled over the woods and a few Corvids next to horses were the last of the birds for a while.
Having passed the sentry box and gone through the gate my attention was now taken by insects. It was getting blustery now but the heat was very much noticeable in the sun and where the track was sheltered in any way groups of insects were feeding. In the section between the two sentry boxes i had 3 Red Admiral and 2 Wall Brown Butterflies. Common Darters started to appear, rising, almost from under my feet as i passed the ruined building and on. Large numbers of Hoverflies and Bees were to be found on almost every head of Knapweed i passed. DRAT, no macro. I didn't quite reach the second sentry box before i decided to head back for a bit of bait and no sooner had i done so that i had a stunning male Southern Hawker coming towards me. I stopped in my tracks only for it to veer off and out of view. It reappered trying to find somewhere to land to take in the suns rays but the conditions caused it to lift almost as soon as it landed due to the vigorous movement of the vegetation. I still wasn't sure of the Hawker species i had at this stage and was relieved when it finally found a resting place.
Finally, a male Southern Hawker could be identified.
The return journey was much more quiet with a lifting Marsh Harrier being an obvious highlight. The Swallows were still feeding frantically overhead and a stunning Peacock butterfly looked glorious opposite Mayfair Cottage.


  1. Cheers Dick, i thought it would never put down due to the blustery wind thrashing the vegetation about.

  2. Nice image John. I've seen a few Southern Hawkers recently (there seems to be more about) but none have settled to allow a photograph!

  3. Thanks Brian.
    There's plenty of the late species dragons out now. I used to be frustrated by both dragons and butters not landing for a photo and used to chase about after them. Not now, if they land, they land. Nice to see you getting into the photography side of things. It adds to the enjoyment.