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Southern Hawker/Blue Darner

Aeshna cyanea


This beautiful dragonfly was photographed in flight as it would not land anywhere near. Large (up to 70mm but I believe this one was larger) and a very fast flyer, the Southern hawker has green markings on a black body; the male (spotted here) also has blue spots on the abdomen. The species is recognizable by its large oval spots on the shoulders


Still or slow-flowing water, but will wander widely and is often seen in gardens and open woodland. Spotted here at a pond with reeds and dense vegetation. Alt. 1300m


Wikipedia indicates that this is an inquisitive species that will approach people. The dragonfly indeed came out of the reeds and checked me out several times, but never landed nearby and went back to the reeds area.

2 species ID suggestions

Southern Hawker
Aeshna cyanea Southern Hawker
Hairy Dragonfly
Brachytron pratense Hairy Dragonfly

52 Comments (1–25)

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Thanks SandraH. We had snow at the week-end, yet I still saw one flying around yesterday. They are very hardy.

SandraH 6 years ago


DanielePralong 6 years ago

Thank you textless!

textless 6 years ago

Great series!

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Thanks Doina! Not unlike you I found this critter on a pond near my home! They are actually still flying around at the moment and are one of the last large insects still to be seen so late in the summer.

DoinaRussu 6 years ago

excellent! is very hard to catch a dragonfly in flight in so quality! big bravo, Daniele!

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Thanks again Laurie!

LaurieAnneKing 6 years ago

Wow - everyone knows how tricky they are to capture in mid flight! Brilliant!

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Thanks Chris! Modern cameras do help...

Chris Carille
Chris Carille 6 years ago

Very impressive catching it in mid-air

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Thanks Atul!

Atul 6 years ago

wow Daniele great snap and pretty impressive colors on it too

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Thanks arlanda and rubens.luciano!

rubens.luciano 6 years ago

This is a hard picture to take. Congratulations Daniele !

arlanda 6 years ago

great shot!

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Shreenivasan, looking forward to see your D60 spottings!
MickGrant, thanks! Aeshna umbrosa is only native to North America but looks very similar in body shape. This was indeed a paparazzi shot!

MickGrant 6 years ago

Good work Daniele - I like Shadow Darner Aeshna umbrosa (not sure if resident at locality) This one is apparently accepting of paparrazi!

Ohh gr8.. even i am new to d7000.. I had a D60 before :) I have more interesting old spotting tht i took of d60.. which I will upload soon..

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Shreenivasan, awesome coming across someone with the same gear here on Noah! I am also still playing with the servo autofocus on this body.... I find my best shots are often still with manual focus (when I don't forget my glasses!). I have found using a single focus point makes it work better for me. Note: many of my shots here at Noah were obtained using my old workhorse the modest Nikon D40.

Ohh awesome.. thanks for the info.. :) I have the same body and lens too.. I have been struggling with servo autofocus.. bcos of which my action shots are kinda missing the crisp focus.. I should learn the art soon..

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Thanks Eve!

Eve Dosh
Eve Dosh 6 years ago

Awesome pic! :)

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Sean all you need is patience and playing with settings (don't be afraid of getting away from automatic modes! One can do great things even with an entry-level SLR) :-) Thanks goodness digital is free and you take as many bad shots as your time (or subject) allows you too. I am also lucky to have these extraordinary creatures living near my place so that I can practice...

SeanWeekly 6 years ago

WOW you sure know your settings! Where are you when need help taking a good shot! :)

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Thank you Sean and Shreenivasan! Shreenivasan, for this shot I didn't use a macro lens as the dragonfly wouldn't land near me and I coudnl't get close to it in the reeds as it is a protected are you're not allowed to walk into. So I tracked it from a distance using a zoom. Nikon D7000 body, AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm; I first manually focused on the insect and then tracked it using continuous servo autofocus. Final settings (1st shot): f/5.2, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400, 210 mm (315 mm equivalent 35mm). I had fun with this and I am sure I can get better!

Châtel-Saint-Denis, Fribourg - Freiburg, Switzerland

Lat: 46.51, Long: 6.95

Spotted on Aug 2, 2011
Submitted on Aug 3, 2011

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