Through mid- late summer and into the autumn, some of our commonly seen dragonflies are active in areas not only near water, but also around woodland, grasslands and gardens.

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Migrant Hawker: Neil Phillips (rspb-images.com), Common Darter Female: Steve Knell (rspb-images.com), Common Darter Male, Chris Knights (rspb-images.com),  Southern Hawker: Tony Hamblin (rspb-images.com).

Keep an eye out for the Migrant Hawker, it was a species that originally migrated here from Europe but it now also breeds here in the UK.  These dragonflies still migrate here from Europe through summer boosting the numbers to make this a commonly seen dragonfly.  They tend to fly around in open spaces quite high up rather than hunting low over bushes and grasses. The male is striking brown and blue colours and the female brown and yellow. 

Darters are some of our smallest dragonflies. There are many darter species but the ones we are most likely to see are the Common Darters and Ruddy Darters of which the males are red and females light brown. They can be seen July through to October or even December if it’s mild, often sitting on bushes and plants waiting for their prey when they “dart” out to catch them.

The Southern Hawker is a striking, large dragonfly. Both males and females have a bright green thorax, (the main large, body section controlling the head and wings) the Males have blue markings along the abdomen and females have mainly green markings. They can be quite inquisitive in their behaviour and actively hunt by hovering and looking “into” bushes and trees. Like all dragonflies, they feed on flies and mosquitoes but Southern Hawkers will also take butterflies if they can catch them.

If you'd like to check on what you've seen, there's a helpful I.D. page from the British Dragonfly Society and an identification guide from Gardener's World.com.

It can often feel like quite a magical moment when a dragonfly is spotted and if you wanted to try and attract more to your garden, the best way is with still water in a garden pond with aquatic plants. The British Dragonfly Society have also created this helpful guide on creating the right sort of garden environment for dragonflies.

It's not just a case of keeping an eye out, but also keeping an "ear" out as their clattering wings can often be heard before we spot them.

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The Flatford Wildlife Garden currently remains closed but re-opening details will be posted in advance on this blog and the main Flatford Garden webpage. The Flatford team continue to encourage wildlife through their own gardening projects and very much look forward to sharing wildlife gardening experiences with you when we re-open.

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